R Kelly’s federal trial over allegations that he tampered with his 2008 state child pornography trial and enticed girls to have sex is about the R&B singer’s “dark” and “hidden” side, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney Jason Julien said during the opening statement that much of the world knew Kelly from his hit song “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Mr Julien said that was “Kelly’s public side”, then adding that “Kelly had another side – a hidden side, a dark side.”
“This trial is about Kelly’s hidden side,” Mr. Julien said.
Kelly faces charges in federal court in his hometown of Chicago of enticement of underage sex, production of child pornography and tampering with his 2008 pornography trial in which he was acquitted.
Julien tried to give the jury a sense of the extent of Kelly’s alleged exploitation by saying he had “repeatedly” had sex with girls as young as 14, 15 and 16 – “multiple girls, hundreds of times” .
Both the prosecution and Kelly’s legal team told the judge earlier in the week that they each had about an hour to tell the jury what kind of evidence they could expect to see and hear.
The hearing of evidence in the federal proceedings is expected to last about a month.
Attorneys for two of Kelly’s co-defendants will also address the jury before the government begins calling witnesses later Wednesday. Prosecutors have not said who they will call first.
The jury was installed Tuesday, with prosecutors and defense attorneys arguing towards the end of the trial over whether the government was improperly trying to keep some black people off the jury.
Kelly, who is black, is accused of seducing minors into sex, producing child pornography and manipulating his 2008 state child pornography trial, in which he was acquitted.
video of the day
As the sides began to issue firm challenges — in which they can remove a fixed number of potential jurors from the pool — Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean accused prosecutors of wanting to eliminate black juries “to deny Mr. Kelly a jury of his own kind.” “.
Prosecutors found that many African Americans had already made it onto the jury before the defense objected, and they argued that their reasons for wanting to hit some had nothing to do with race.
In one case, they said an elderly man appeared to be having trouble staying awake.
Judge Harry Leinenweber partially agreed with the defense, barring prosecutors from removing and reinstating three blacks from the jury.
About half of the 12 jurors called by the judge, prosecutor and defense attorneys identified them as black. In addition, six deputies were elected.
Some of the selected judges had seen at least part of a six-part documentary series, Surviving R Kelly, about allegations of sexual abuse against the Grammy-winning singer.
Watching wasn’t an automatic disqualification as long as a potential jury could assure Leinenweber that he could still be impartial.
Among the 12 jurors selected was a retired real estate agent who had a son who was a prosecutor and another son who was a defense attorney. Another juror was a librarian.
Among those fired was a woman who said she had unfavorable opinions of police and judges, and a man who said he didn’t believe the Internal Revenue Service should exist.
A key focus of the trial will be whether Kelly threatened and paid off a girl he allegedly videotaped himself having sex with when he was around 30 and she was no older than 14.
That’s the allegation underpinning another charge against Kelly, conspiracy to obstruct justice.
The jury in the 2008 child pornography trial acquitted Kelly, with some later stating they felt they had no choice because the girl did not testify.
The woman, now in her 30s and referred to only as Minor 1 in court records, will be the government’s star witness.
When she testified, prosecutors said in court Monday that they would not use her real name and would not label her as a minor 1 . Instead, they would call her by a single pseudonym, Jane.
Kelly, 55, has already been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a New York federal judge in a 2021 conviction for using his fame to sexually abuse other young fans.
Kelly, who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer, will be around 80 years old before retiring from his New York sentence, which he is appealing. qualified for early release.
Kelly faces four charges of seducing a minor into sex, one each for four other accusers. They are also expected to make a statement.
Two Kelly associates, Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown, are co-defendants in the Chicago trial.
McDavid is accused of helping Kelly fix the 2008 trial, while Brown is accused of receiving child pornography. Like Kelly, they have also denied wrongdoing.
Minor 1 is expected to testify that she had sex with Kelly on video.
The recording was the centerpiece of the month-long 2008 trial and was played to the jury almost daily.
Prosecutors say Kelly threatened Minors 1 and their parents and tried to pay them off so they would not testify in 2008. None of them did.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/r-kelly-trial-is-about-singers-hidden-side-court-told-41918003.html R Kelly’s trial is about the singer’s ‘hidden side’