Judge selects anonymous jury of seven men and five women to hear R Kelly’s New York sex trafficking case, as similar cases loom in Minnesota and Illinois

  • R. Kelly will face an anonymous jury made up of seven men and five women when his NYC sex trafficking trial goes forward next week with opening statements 
  • The panel was sworn in on Wednesday after dozens of potential jurors were screened by US District Judge Ann Donnelly in federal court in Brooklyn
  • The judge sought assurances from prospective jurors that they could remain impartial despite the bad publicity swirling around Kelly since his 2019 arrest  
  • He is also facing separate criminal cases in Illinois and Minnesota for alleged sex crimes in 2020 and 2019, respectively
  • Meanwhile, opening statements for Kelly’s New York case are scheduled to begin next Wednesday. 
  • The trial is expected to go on for about a month, with Kelly remaining incarcerated since his 2019 arrest

The 54-year-old R&B star is facing sex-related charges in cases across three states, New York, Minnesota and Illinois

R&B star R. Kelly will face an anonymous jury made up of seven men and five women when his New York City sex trafficking trial goes forward next week with opening statements.

The panel was sworn in on Wednesday after dozens of potential jurors were screened by US District Judge Ann Donnelly in federal court in Brooklyn.

The judge sought assurances from prospective jurors that they could remain impartial despite the bad publicity swirling around Kelly since his 2019 arrest. 

Some told her that they were mainly aware of Kelly from his smash hit ‘I Believe I Can Fly.’ Many said they knew little or nothing about the case. 

The newly-selected jurors will remain partially sequestered throughout the duration of the trial, and will be escorted each day to the courthouse by US Marshals, the New York Post’s Page Six reports, in a bid to prevent the case from being tainted by the publicity it will generate. 

R. Kelly standing beside his attorney, Steven Greenberg (pictured left) as Kelly appears for a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court building on Sept. 17, 2019 in Chicago

A court sketch of Kelly taken during a hearing in Brooklyn on August 3 

The jury selection spanned three days with Kelly seen on a video feed sitting impassively at the defense table, wearing glasses and dressed in a suit. 

The scene was beamed into an overflow courtroom after a judge took the unusual step of barring the press and public from watching trial in person, citing coronavirus concerns.

Multiplatinum-selling singer Kelly has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of leading an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. 

Federal prosecutors say the group selected victims at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly. 

Last week, the court was told that the once-musclebound star has had to be measured up for a new suit for his case, because he has gained so much weight in prison.

His lawyers have also requested that transcripts of the case be made available to them for free, because Kelly’s vast wealth has been severely depleted.  

The R&B singer is also accused of sexually abusing Aaliyah while she was only 15-years-old, and marrying her so that she couldn’t testify against him. 

Defense lawyers have said Kelly’s alleged victims were groupies who turned up at his shows and made it known they ‘were dying to be with him.’ 

The women only started accusing him of abuse years later when public sentiment shifted in the #MeToo era, they said.

Kelly, 54, won multiple Grammys for ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ a 1996 song that became an inspirational anthem played at school graduations, weddings, advertisements and elsewhere.

He is also facing separate criminal cases in Illinois and Minnesota for alleged sex crimes in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Meanwhile, opening statements for Kelly’s New York case are scheduled to begin next Wednesday. The trial is expected to go on for about a month, according to the Post.

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