R. Kelly’s Child Pornography Trial

2MuchMuzik NEWS!

With Reports from SunTimes. BY ERIC HERMAN AND KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporters

Questions about race, money and pornography dominated the first day of jury selection in the R. Kelly case Monday — a day in which lawyers picked the first three jurors.

Those jurors include an African-American woman whose husband is a Baptist pastor, a black man who identified himself as a Christian and a white executive who said he thinks Kelly is guilty.

In a small room behind Courtroom 500 of the Criminal Courts building, R&B superstar Kelly sat at a table with his lawyers, Judge Vincent Gaughan, two prosecutors, and a court reporter as potential jurors came in one by one.

The questions touched on media coverage of the case and whether people with money get a better deal in the justice system.

The white juror said he believed Kelly was guilty, but that he could give him a fair trial.

“I have two little kids,” the man said. “Child pornography is about as low as it gets.”

Kelly, 41, is charged with 14 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kelly sat in silence during jury selection, staring at the table and occasionally dabbing his nose with a tissue. The singer nodded when Gaughan responded to the white male juror, “There’s no one in this room who condones child pornography.”


In all, lawyers interviewed 16 potential jurors, with 13 being dismissed.

The woman juror lives in Olympia Fields — where Kelly resides — but said she had not heard local gossip about the singer. Dressed conservatively in a gray suit and silver hoop earrings, the woman said her husband was active in the National Baptist Convention. She once pressed charges and got an order of protection against a mentally ill man who broke into her house, she said.

The black male juror said he had seen abuses on both sides of the justice system but that he could give Kelly a fair trial. Asked about pornography, he said, “I don’t like going to 7-11 and seeing it.”

The man said he did not know much about Kelly’s reputation or music, though he was familiar with the Kelly hit “I Believe I Can Fly.”

The white male juror told Gaughan his job as vice president of national accounts for an unnamed company would suffer if he is picked. He said he supervises nearly 40 people and travels regularly.

“Civic duty trumps work,” the man said. Still, he said, “It’s a detriment to my career.”

Gaughan asked the man to look Kelly in the eye and promise him a fair trial. When the man said he would be fair, Kelly nodded and mouthed the words, “all right.”


Race became an issue more than once. When prosecutors moved to dismiss two potential jurors who were black, defense lawyer Ed Genson objected.

Assistant state’s attorney Shauna Boliker noted that one of the potential jurors, a black woman, had seemed “star-struck” and had given “inappropriate” answers.

The woman, a postal worker, told Gaughan she thought Kelly was “a musical genius” and a “pied piper.” Asked if she knew anything negative about Kelly, the woman said, “He and [rapper] Jay-Z don’t get along.”

Gaughan said the prosecution’s moves were “race-neutral.” The postal worker was dismissed.

Earlier, a white woman said she was not sure she could be fair to a black defendant. The woman explained her daughter’s life had been threatened by a boyfriend of a different race.

Jury selection is expected to take a week. The lawyers will pick 16 panelists total — 12 jurors and four alternates.

Credits: SunTimes

Photo: USversusthem



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