People who’ve seen Surviving R. Kelly will be allowed to serve as jurors in the disgraced singer’s Chicago trial.
R. Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean asked a judge to ban any prospective jurors who’ve seen the Lifetime documentary series. U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber denied the request on the first day of jury selection, which began on Monday (August 15).
According to NBC News, nine people revealed they’ve seen at least part of Surviving R. Kelly in juror questionnaires. 70 potential jurors said they haven’t watched any of the docuseries.
R. Kelly’s attorney claimed it’s “impossible” for a person to watch the docuseries and separate it from the criminal case. But Judge Leinenweber pushed back, saying it’s wrong to prevent someone from serving as a juror if they’ve only seen part of the series.
Lifetime’s six-part documentary premiered in 2019. It covered decades of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual misconduct and featured interviews with his victims.
R. Kelly is currently facing a trial for child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Chicago. At least two of his alleged victims will testify.
Earlier this year, the 55-year-old artist was sentenced to 30 years in prison following a conviction in New York. A jury found him guilty of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges in 2021.