No new juror selections were made in the R. Kelly child pornography trial, leaving the total chosen to eight.
Among those excused from service was a woman who produced the first look of concern from Kelly since jury questioning started May 9. The middle-aged woman said she saw a snippet of the scandalous videotape on the news and formed her own opinion, “Anyone who would become accused or be in that position of doing that supposedly with a child isn’t very smart. He needs help,” she said before stating that she would be able to give him a fair trail. Caught off guard, Kelly paused from writing on yellow index cards or post-it notes in his lap and gave a faint look as if he was hit in his stomach. Prosecutors made a failed attempt to select a juror that said if she was the singer, she would not want herself on the jury. The mother of a 16-year-old girl said that in addition to being a parent she is also a teacher, making it hard for her to be fair considering the nature of the charges against Kelly. “I’ll be honest. I work with children and part of my job is to keep them safe,” said the white woman in her 50s that describes herself as an “expert” juror. She has served as a juror on four civil cases in three states and one criminal case in New Mexico. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughn asked if she could base her decision solely based on the evidence presented in court. She said, “I would hope so and that’s the best I can give you.” Ed Genson, one of Kelly’s lawyers grilled the woman about her frequent hesitations about giving his client the benefit of the doubt. He asked that while she said she hopes she can be fair, will she. “My best is that I hope I can,” the woman said. Not satisfied, Genson then asked, “If you were in Mr. Kelly’s position, would you want someone with your state of mind on the jury?” “Probably not,” she said. When the judge asked if she could look at Kelly and promise to give him a fair trial, she hesitated and said, “Yes, I think so.” Kelly, dressed in a navy suit, smirked and lowered his head. Others not chosen include several for health reasons and some who simply said they already found him guilty. The R&B superstar has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he videotaped himself having sex with a girl in her early teens. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.