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Jurors have been selected in R. Kelly’s trial, including a man friendly with a Cosby relative and another who mistook the singer for a cartoonist

Summary List PlacementAfter three days of jury selection, seven men and five women have been chosen to decide whether R. Kelly is guilty of a long list of federal sex crimes and racketeering charges. Judge Ann Donnelly had attorneys for the prosecution and defense narrow down the pool to 12 jurors who are expected to deliberate. Five women and one man will serve as alternates. All of the jurors and alternates will hear evidence in the trial, which is expected to begin with opening statements on August 18 and last four weeks. If a juror needs to be excused from the...

A courtroom sketch of R. Kelly in a blue suit.

Summary List Placement

After three days of jury selection, seven men and five women have been chosen to decide whether R. Kelly is guilty of a long list of federal sex crimes and racketeering charges.

Judge Ann Donnelly had attorneys for the prosecution and defense narrow down the pool to 12 jurors who are expected to deliberate. Five women and one man will serve as alternates.

All of the jurors and alternates will hear evidence in the trial, which is expected to begin with opening statements on August 18 and last four weeks. If a juror needs to be excused from the trial for some reason, the judge will select an alternate to deliberate in their place.

The identities of the jurors will remain anonymous, and they will be partially sequestered throughout the trial. US Marshalls are escorting the jurors to and from the courthouse to protect their privacy. 

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused Kelly and people he employed of recruiting girls for him to have sex with and abuse, and of making pornographic videos out of some of those experiences.

The court dismissed more than a dozen perspective jurors from the case on Monday and Tuesday, based on their answers to questions during voir dire. Two women who said they believed women are unlikely to lie about sexual abuse were dismissed for cause. The jurors were also asked whether they would have an issue remaining impartial if they heard evidence about same-sex relationships. 

A courtroom sketch of attorneys and R. Kelly in suits standing before prospective jurors who are raising their hands.

Here’s what we know about the jurors selected:

  • A man who enjoys watching sports in his free time.
  • A man who works in guest services at a hotel and enjoys making sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films for fun.
  • A man who had a bad experience with law enforcement, but said it didn’t leave him with any bias against officers. 
  • A man who mistakenly believed R. Kelly was the American cartoonist R. Crumb, likes to crochet, and travels at least twice a year to Germany to visit his boyfriend.
  • A woman who loves to cook in her spare time, including making curry dishes and roti. 
  • A man who loves learning new languages and going out with friends. 
  • A woman who works as a fraud investigator, is active in her church, and likes to read in her free time.
  • A man who works as a superintendent and spends his spare time watching sports.
  • A woman who mentors people who work in the sales force industry, and who has two kids in school.
  • A woman who works as a cook at a hospital, and loves to cook Italian food and bake in her spare time.
  • A woman who had family imprisoned.
  • A man who works as a flight attendant who said he believes “a trial by the media is worse than a trial by jury.” This man also said he has a friend who is in Bill Cosby’s family, but bases his thoughts on Cosby’s case on the verdict jurors reached. 

R Kelly

Here’s what we know about the alternates selected:

  • A woman who works as a program analyst and has four kids.
  • A woman who works in international education research, who answered in her questionnaire that Kelly seemed to have a lot of women accusing him which she believes “doesn’t bode well.” 
  • A woman who was scheduled to begin a new job during the trial, has three kids and said she was a fan of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” when she was young.
  • A woman who was laid off as a fast food restaurant manager during pandemic. This woman also made comments on Facebook about articles discussing the #MeToo movement, but said she would be able to put her thoughts aside when hearing the case.
  • A woman who knits, crochets, and spins wool in her spare time.
  • A man who works at a call center, plays chess, and has five grandchildren.

Prosecutors successfully struck three black women from the jury pool 

On Wednesday, both the defense and prosecution took issue with some of the preemptory challenges posed by the other side.

The defense argued that the government had no reason to strike three Black women from the jury pool other than their race, but the judge denied their Batson challenge — an argument that the strike was rooted in discrimination — after hearing the prosecution’s argument.

The government said that one of the potential jurors had indicated in her pretrial questionnaire that women accusing R. Kelly of abuse “willingly” chose to stay with him. A second responded to a question about the case with the asnwer, “what people do is their own business,” indicating to the state a lack of empathy with the victims.

The prosecution struck a third woman because she said in her questionaire that she “doesn’t look up or down at anyone.”

The judge accepted that these strikes were appropriate and not race- or gender-based.

The prosecution also brought a Batson challenge noting that the defense had struck seven potential jurors who were white, but retracted it after hearing their reasoning for each. 

The trial is expected to last one month

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for August 18. The trial is expected to be attended by media, as well as supporters who believe Kelly should be freed and have indicated on social media that they will show up to the courthouse.

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