A battle is brewing between R. Kelly’s lawyers, and prosecutors, over – as crazy as this may sound – STDs.
Last week, R. Kelly’s lawyers submitted a questionnaire which will be presented to an anonymous jury, who will be tasked with deciding the disgraced singer’s innocence or guilt.
A number of the questions potential jurors will have to answer are very personal.
One of the questions R. Kelly’s lawyers sought to have on the questionnaire asked prospective jurors if they had ever had a sexually transmitted disease.
“Have you, a family member, or close friend, ever contracted or been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease? Please explain who (but not by name), and indicate how this impacted you?” reads one of the questions.
Earlier today (June 11) the government protested that question to Judge Ann M. Donnelly, labeling the question as “unduly and unnecessarily intrusive.”
“The government objects to this request on the basis that it is vague, overly broad and unnecessarily intrusive as it may elicit responses regarding the potential jurors’ medical history,” said Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney.
While the government is not asking for the question to be stricken in its entirety, they are asking the judge to reword the question as followed:
“The charges in this case involve allegations regarding exposure to one or more sexually transmitted diseases. Is there anything about such an allegation, without more, that you believe would affect your ability to serve as a fair and impartial juror?”
Prosecutors also scoffed at the notion R. Kelly was a rock star and asked to have a question asking jurors if they had ever attended a rock concert to be completely stricken from the questionnaire.
“The defendant is not a ‘rock’ singer. As a result, the question, as currently phrased, is unlikely to result in any useful information.”
The government asked to have that question rephrased to: “Have you ever attended an R. Kelly concert?”]
While it might sound outrageous, these questions could prove pivotal for the prosecution and/or the defense, since R. Kelly is accused of knowingly transmitting herpes to one of his alleged victims and using his concerts to find victims and groom them.
R. Kelly is facing a RICO trial for allegedly running a sexual enterprise, which allegedly engaged in bribery, kidnapping, sexual abuse, exploitation of minors, transportation of minors and other individuals for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity, production of
child pornography, and forced labor, and other crimes.
Earlier this week, R. Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, suffered a major setback. His longtime attorneys Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard resigned – or fired – from representing the singer during his trial, which will start on August 9 in New York.
Greenberg, Leonard, and the remaining attorneys representing R. Kelly differed as to who should be trying the singer, resulting in their departure from the legal team.
“We refused to try a case with lawyers who don’t have the appropriate level of experience and skill because that is not in the client’s best interest. It is a shame that lawyers can’t suppress their own egos or self-interest and do or act in the client’s best interest,” Greenberg and Leonard said in a statement.