The federal judge presiding over R. Kelly’s upcoming child pornagraphy and obstruction of justice Chicago trial will not ban people who watched the “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries from serving as jurors, NBC News reports.
The former R&B singer originally asked U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber to not allow anyone on the jury if they watched the gut-wrenching Lifetime series.
Per juror questionnaires, a total of nine people revealed that they had seen part of the docuseries. Another 70 individuals said they had not seen it. An attorney for R. Kelly believes that jurors will not be able to come to a fair decision due to bias from watching the 2019 project.
“It would be impossible for anyone who saw any part of the series to separate what they saw on TV and in the courtroom,” said Jennifer Bonjean. According to Judge Leinenweber, who serves for the Northern District of Illinois, enough time has passed since the docuseries aired. He also does not think it would be sensible to prohibit individuals from serving on the jury given they may have only watched part of the controversial program and not the whole project.
“Surviving R. Kelly” provided first hand accounts of people who worked closely with the singer through more than 50 interviews, including testimonies from women who accused R. Kelly of mental, physical, and sexual abuse. As previously reported by REVOLT, the 55-year-old was convicted of racketeering and sex crimes, as well as, sexual misconduct, bribery, and sexual exploitation of a child during a separate trial earlier this summer. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
At the time, Bonjean announced that the Chicago native’s legal team was “prepared to fight” for an appeal of the sentencing due to the racketeering charge.
“Our position is this was not a RICO or racketeering act violation,” Bonjean continued. “These were isolated events that happened many years ago and the government simply tried to plead around the statute of limitations to bring it in a RICO charge, which was inappropriate.” Per reports, the jury selection for R. Kelly’s forthcoming Chicago trial should be solidified by the end of the week.