AceShowbiz - R. Kelly's legal team have allegedly failed in his attempt to remove any potential jurors who watched the "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary from his new pornography and obstruction trial. The disgraced singer, 55, is accused of coercing five minors into sex acts and producing child sexual abuse imagery.
He is also facing allegations he conspired to conceal evidence and intimidate victims. Derrel McDavid and Milton "June" Brown, previously employed by the disgraced singer, are accused of coming to his aid, with all three denying the accusations.
As jury selection began on Monday (15.08.22) in Chicago ahead of a trial set to last for the next month, Judge Harry Leinenweber reportedly denied a request from Kelly's attorneys to reject members of the public who had watched any part of Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary, first aired in 2019.
The series, which later got a second season, investigated Kelly's mass of sex abuse charges. According to reports, the musician's team argued involving jurors who had watched any part of the docuseries was "unfair."
According to the New York Post, Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean said, "No one, even a well-intentioned person, would be capable of purging his brain of information obtained through the docuseries or separating information learned from the documentary that was never subject to cross-examination from testimony introduced at trial on the same subject matter."
"There is substantial overlap between the subject matter of this prosecution and the subject matter of the documentary."
The Chicago Tribune reported she added, "Allowing an individual to sit on this jury who has seen 'Surviving R. Kelly' is no different than allowing a juror to sit on the jury who was permitted to preview the discovery in this case."
Bonjean is also said to have added some possible members of the jury indicated they had watched the documentary, which she described as "absurd."
The publication reported Leinenweber denied the request, suggesting a blanket rejection would not be appropriate.
Kelly - born Robert Sylvester Kelly - was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after being convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering charges.
He was accused of masterminding an elaborate scheme to entice and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and underage children, with a jury finding him guilty last September on all nine counts, including multiple counts of racketeering.
The "I Believe I Can Fly" singer, who denied all charges, was also found in violation of anti-sex trafficking law the Mann Act.