The final day of jury selection in the R. Kelly case proved to be the most dramatic of the four-day process when the judge allowed a rape victim to serve on the jury. The defense also alleged that prosecutors were trying to fill the jury box with white ju
Selected Thursday to decide the R&B singing sensation’s fate in the child pornography case are four Blacks and eight whites. Eight men make up the panel.
Opening statements begin May 20.
Ed Genson, Kelly’s lead lawyer, failed to get the rape victim tossed from the list because they used all seven of their peremptory challenges, allowing lawyers to get dismiss potential jurors without explanation.
Genson said the nature of the trial may be too traumatic for her and could prevent her from giving Kelly a fair trial.
A grand jury did not indict in the woman’s rape case and her attacker was not arrested.
“Given the nature of this prosecution, we would ask [she] be removed for cause,” said Genson.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan denied the request, stating the woman repeatedly said she could judge Kelly solely based on the evidence presented during the trial.
Another of Kelly’s lawyers, Sam Adam Sr., said prosecutors used most of their strikes against Blacks, after two Black men were bounced from selection. Both had been incarcerated. One, an elderly man, denied then admitted his criminal history. The other said unauthorized medical tests were done on him while he was locked up. As a result, he was part of a class-action lawsuit.
“Once again, it’s another Black juror they’re trying to get rid of. I think they’re using these [challenges] to get rid of African Americans,” Adam said.
The judge disagreed and said the defense used all of their strikes on white potential jurors.
“You haven’t mentioned all of the white males you’ve dismissed,” Gaughan said.
Kelly, 41, of Olympia Fields, is on trial stemming from charges that he filmed himself between 1998 and 2001 having sex with a girl in her early teens. He pleaded not guilty. If convicted he must serve between four and 15 years in prison.
R. Kelly Jurors
1. Black woman from Olympia Fields whose husband is a Baptist minister. She said she could judge him on the laws of man, not of God. She appears to be in her 50s.
2. Black man who is a self-avowed Christian. He appears to be in his 50s.
3. Black man who is an aspiring chef. He appears to be in his 40s.
4. Black woman who is a teaching assistant at a Catholic School on the West Side. She said several of her friends discussed the case and are split on his guilt. She appears to be in her late 20s, early 30s.
5. White man who is an executive with two kids. He said Kelly is guilty, but still could give him a fair trial. He appears to be in his 30s.
6. White woman who is a criminal justice student. She is an aspiring police officer. She appears to be in her 20s.
7. White man who recently graduated from a Midwest university. He was arrested on two separate occasions for marijuana possession and underage drinking. He appears to be in his 20s.
8. White man who appears to be in his 30s.
9. White man who works as a compliance officer for an investment firm. He sports an “Impeach Bush” button on his backpack. He saw portion of the video on the news and could only determine that it was a man and a woman. He appears to be in his 30s.
10. White man who served on two civil juries. He appears to be in his 40s.
11. White man from Romania who has been in the United States for the last 38 years. He said the score sheet at the beginning of trial is “zero to zero.” He is 68 years old.
12. White woman who is an athletic trainer at a suburban high school. She appears to be in her 20s.
Four alternate jurors
1. White man whose uncle was convicted of child pornography charges, but assured that he could be fair. He appears to be in his 20s.
2. Hispanic man who is a retail worker. On his jury questionnaire he wrote, “A picture can say 1,000 words, but facts can/may be different.” He appears to be between 18 and 20 years old.
3. Black woman who is a retired Cook County sheriff’s deputy. She appears to be in her 60s.
4. Black woman who appears to be in her 40s.
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