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Convicted sex predator R. Kelly asked a court to disqualify anyone who has seen a popular docuseries that explores a number of the allegations against him from serving on the jury at his Chicago trial.
Defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean wrote in a letter filed Sunday that any prospective juror who has seen a portion of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” wouldn’t be able to separate the allegations in the documentary and the evidence presented at the trial.
“No one, even a well-intentioned person, would be capable of purging his brain of information obtained through the docuseries or separating information learned from the documentary that was never subject to cross-examination from testimony introduced at trial on the same subject matter,” Bonjean wrote to US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber.
She added that the 2019 docuseries features interviews with a number of witnesses who prosecutors intend to call at the trial, including Lisa Van Allen and Jerhonda Pace.
“There is substantial overlap between the subject matter of this prosecution and the subject matter of the documentary,” Bonjean wrote.
In the case brought by federal prosecutors in Illinois, Kelly is charged with a series of child pornograpy and other counts for sex abuse he allegedly carried out during his years as a premiere R&B superstar.
About 100 potential jurors filled out questionnaires last week in the first steps to establish the jury pool at a federal courthouse in the Windy City, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In her motion, Bonjean said a number of potential panelists indicated they had seen “Surviving R. Kelly.”
“Some potential jurors who have seen the documentary have indicated that they are still capable of being impartial. This representation is in a word – absurd,” she wrote.
Jury selection in the case begins Monday.
Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after his conviction on nine counts, including racketeering, in Brooklyn federal court.
A host of victims testified at the 2021 trial, where prosecutors painted Kelly as a “predator” who preyed on his young fans and sexually abused them for decades.