Criminal law can be tricky sometimes — especially when it comes to cases involving celebrities. After all, how can you have an impartial jury when everything the defendant has done has been widely reported? That was the argument R. Kelly’s defense wanted to use to block jurors who had seen the Surviving R. Kelly miniseries detailing his alleged misdeeds. Kelly is set to go on trial in Chicago for child pornography and obstruction of justice. However, according to NBC News, the federal judge presiding over the case was unconvinced.
U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber for the Northern District of Illinois denied Kelly’s request to block those jurors who’d seen the show, saying that because the series aired a few years ago and the possibility that anyone who’d seen it might not have finished it, it wouldn’t make sense to block them. Meanwhile, despite the defense’s worries, on a questionnaire, only nine of the 79 potential jurors they’d seen at least part of the docuseries. Once those numbers are pared down to the 12 that will actually serve on the jury, it’s unlikely that any of the jurors — or their alternates — would have seen Surviving R. Kelly.
However, considering the outcome of his New York trial for racketeering and sex trafficking, that might not help much. Kelly was convicted of the charges against him and sentenced to 30 years in prison in June. Kelly plans to appeal his sentence using the same legal team as his upcoming Chicago trial, who also successfully appealed Bill Cosby’s conviction.