R Kelly trial judge ‘denies request to ban jurors who watched Lifetime doc'

The judge in R Kelly’s pornography and obstruction trial has denied a request to remove any potential jurors who watched the Surviving R Kelly documentary, it has been claimed.

The 55-year-old, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, is facing allegations that he coerced five minors into sex acts, and has been accused of producing child sexual abuse imagery.

As well as this, he was also accused of conspiring to conceal evidence and intimidate victims.

Derrel McDavid and Milton ‘June’ Brown – who were previously employed by the disgraced singer – are alleged to have aided him, but all three have denied the allegations.

As jury selection began earlier today in Chicago, ahead of a trial set to last four weeks, 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, which first hit screens in 2019.

The series, which later got a second season, delved behind the scenes of the many headlines about Kelly’s relationships and the sex abuse charges he had faced.

According to reports, the musician’s team argued that involving jurors who had watched any part of the docuseries was ‘unfair’.

‘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,’ Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, reportedly said via the New York Post.

‘There is substantial overlap between the subject matter of this prosecution and the subject matter of the documentary.’

‘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,’ the Chicago Tribune reports that she said.

Bonjean added that some possible members of the jury indicated that they had watched the documentary, which she described as ‘absurd’.

The publication reports that Leinenweber denied the request, suggesting that a blanket rejection would not be appropriate.

The trial comes after 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, and a jury found him guilty on all nine counts – including multiple counts of racketeering – last September.

The I Believe I Can Fly star, who denied all charges, was also found in violation of an anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

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