R&B singer R. Kelly’s obstruction trial begins in Chicago

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R&B singer R. Kelly’s latest federal trial began on Monday with the selection of a jury to hear charges pertaining to allegations that he lured underage girls into having sex with him and obstructed a 2008 state case which resulted in his acquittal.

The 55-year-old multi-platinum music artist faces multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a child, enticement of a female and possession of material containing child pornography, and will be tried in a US District Court in his hometown of Chicago.

R. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was among the most prominent people convicted of sexual misconduct during the #MeToo movement. The singer’s former business manager Derrel McDavid and associate Milton Brown are also facing charges for obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to bribe and threaten witnesses during the 2008 Illinois case in which the singer he was found not guilty on 14 counts of child pornography.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the current federal charges, and their trial is expected to last four weeks.

In a motion filed on Sunday R. Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, requested the exclusion of any prospective juror who watched the 2019 Netflix documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” which chronicles the allegations against him.

According to court documents, at least one of R. Kelly’s alleged victims is expected to testify against him.

In June R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison on his conviction in a New York federal court on racketeering and prostitution charges. The trial reinforced accusations that had followed the singer of the Grammy-winning hit “I Believe I Can Fly” for two decades.

R. Kelly also faces various state charges in Illinois and Minnesota.