First Three Jurors Selected In R. Kelly Trial
The wife of a Baptist preacher from R. Kelly's Chicago-area hometown, a business executive and a telecommunications company employee were the first three jurors chosen yesterday (May 12) for the R&The wife of a Baptist preacher from R. Kelly's Chicago-area hometown, a business executive and a telecommunications company employee were the first three jurors chosen yesterday (May 12) for the R&B superstar's child pornography trial.
The executive, a middle-aged man, called child pornography "the lowest of the low" during questioning by the judge and attorneys. But he said he felt he could give a fair trial to the 41-year-old Kelly, who is accused of videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13.
At one point, Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan said nobody in the room condoned child pornography and Kelly appeared to nod his head in agreement.
Kelly, known for sexually charged hits like "Bump N' Grind," has pleaded not guilty. The alleged victim, now 23, says it wasn't her on the videotape.
Dressed in a dark silver-gray suit and matching tie, Kelly remained mostly pokerfaced, sometimes appearing to study the faces of would-be jurors across the long conference table.
There were some moments of levity during the eight hours of questioning. When one man mentioned that someone stole his car a decade ago, Gaughan leaned forward and said, "You know Mr. Kelly had nothing to do with that, right?"
Kelly, who was seated near a men's restroom, frequently held a tissue over his nose during the proceedings, and prosecutors complained about the odor coming from the room.
The preacher's wife from Olympia Fields, where Kelly lives, said her religious beliefs would not affect her service as a juror. The judge reminded her that the trial involved "laws of man, not the laws of God," and she said she understood.
The telecommunications worker, a man in his 50s, said he'd didn't like seeing what he considered pornographic magazines at convenience stores, but he told the judge that wouldn't influence how he assessed the facts in Kelly's case. He added that the only song he knew of Kelly's was the 1997 hit, "I Believe I Can Fly."
Potential jurors who were dismissed included a man in his 50s who prosecutors said clearly was awestruck by Kelly's celebrity and a security guard who said Kelly would have "some explaining to do" if he was on the video.
About 15 potential jurors were questioned Monday; 20 others out of an initial pool of 150 were scheduled to face questions on Tuesday. Sixteen jurors, four of them alternates, are to be chosen for the trial. Court officials have said questioning and selection from the 150 potential jurors is expected to take about a week.
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