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Jury selection set to begin in R. Kelly sex trafficking case

NEW YORK (AP) — After a number of delays, the primary section of the intercourse trafficking trial of R&B hitmaker R. Kelly will start with jury choice Monday in New York Metropolis.

NEW YORK (AP) — After a number of delays, the primary section of the intercourse trafficking trial of R&B hitmaker R. Kelly will start with jury choice Monday in New York Metropolis.

A decide in federal courtroom in Brooklyn will query potential jurors about whether or not they can hold an open thoughts about Kelly two years after he was charged with abusing girls and ladies for practically 20 years. The continuing will happen amid coronavirus pandemic precautions proscribing the press and the general public to overflow courtrooms with video feeds.

Kelly, 54, has been locked up since he was indicted, largely housed in a federal jail in Chicago. He was moved final month to the federal Metropolitan Detention Heart in Brooklyn to face trial in a case that is additional diminished his celebrity standing.

Final week, protection lawyer Devereaux Cannick advised a decide that Kelly must be measured for brand new clothes as a result of he’s gained a lot weight in jail. And he requested that courtroom transcripts be supplied for gratis as a result of Kelly has been unable to work for 2 years, saying: “His funds are depleted.”

The Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling singer has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not responsible to costs accusing him of main an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and different workers who helped him recruit girls and ladies for intercourse. Federal prosecutors say the group chosen victims at concert events and different venues and organized for them to journey to see Kelly.

Protection legal professionals have mentioned Kelly’s alleged victims had been groupies who turned up at his reveals and made it identified they “had been dying to be with him.” They solely began accusing him of abuse years later when public sentiment shifted within the #MeToo period, they mentioned.

The trial had been anticipated to begin earlier within the 12 months. However opening statements had been moved to Aug. 18 after Kelly fired his authentic protection workforce.

Jurors are anticipated to listen to testimony from a number of of his accusers. A decide has dominated that the ladies will solely be referred to by their first names.

Prosecutors have mentioned the jury will even hear proof that Kelly schemed with others to pay for a pretend ID for Aaliyah, a singer on the rise at 15 years previous, in a secret ceremony in 1994.

Aaliyah is recognized as “Jane Doe #1” in courtroom papers as a result of she was nonetheless a minor when Kelly started a sexual relationship together with her and believed she had develop into pregnant, the papers say.

“Because of this, in an effort to defend himself from felony costs associated to his unlawful sexual relationship with Jane Doe #1, Kelly organized to secretly marry her to stop her from being compelled to testify towards him sooner or later,” the papers say.

Aaliyah, whose full identify was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, labored with Kelly, who wrote and produced her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing However A Quantity.” She died in a airplane crash in 2001 at age 22.

The case is just a part of the authorized peril going through the singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly. He additionally has pleaded not responsible to sex-related costs in Illinois and Minnesota.

Kelly gained a number of Grammys for “I Imagine I Can Fly,” a 1996 track that turned an inspirational anthem performed in school graduations, weddings, commercials and elsewhere.

Practically a decade later, he started releasing what finally turned 22 musical chapters of “Trapped within the Closet,” a drama that spins a story of sexual deceit and have become a cult basic.

However Kelly has been trailed for many years by complaints and allegations about his sexual conduct, together with a 2002 baby pornography case in Chicago. He was acquitted in that case in 2008.

Scrutiny intensified once more amid the #MeToo motion in recent times, with a number of girls going public with accusations towards the singer. The strain intensified with the discharge of the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” in 2019.

Prison costs quickly adopted.

Tom Hays, The Related Press

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