CHICAGO – Jury selection began Monday in the second federal trial of R. Kelly, who faces allegations that he filmed himself having sex with young girls and conspired to obstruct justice in relation to his 2008 child-pornography trial in Chicago.
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Authorities arrested Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, in 2019. Prosecutors allege that, beginning in the late 1990s, the R&B star met four girls and filmed explicit videos with them when they were as young as 13.
In court records, officials said that Kelly and two of his former employees, Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown, later paid people off to cover up evidence and to keep them from cooperating with authorities investigating the videos. They also pressured victims to lie to authorities to cover up Kelly’s crimes, according to prosecutors.
Related: R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years on racketeering, sex trafficking charges
The girl at the center of the 2008 child pornography case against Kelly was among those who were allegedly pressured. Authorities said that she lied to investigators and a grand jury about her relationship with Kelly on the singer’s orders. For years, prosecutors said Kelly and McDavid paid her and her family in an effort to conceal evidence about the pair’s relationship, including giving the girl a luxury SUV and sending her parents on trips abroad.
Last week one of Kelly’s attorneys, Jennifer Bonjean, said in a social media post that she expected it would “be difficult to find 12 people who can be fair given the media war on my client.”
On Sunday, Bonjean filed a motion asking a judge to excuse all potential jurors who had seen the 2019 docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” noting that several people who appear in the series are expected to testify. The judge denied the motion on Monday but said that potential jurors would be questioned about the show, according to The Associated Press.
It was not immediately clear how long jury selection would take.
Related: R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering, sex trafficking charges
Authorities have also charged McDavid and Brown with conspiracy to receive child pornography and other charges.
For decades before his arrest in 2019, Kelly had faced allegations of sexual misconduct and assault. Last year, a federal jury in New York found the 55-year-old guilty of heading a racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that for decades preyed on young women. In June, a judge sentenced Kelly to serve 30 years in prison related to the charges.
Kelly has long denied any wrongdoing.
If he’s convicted of charges in Illinois, Kelly could face decades more in prison.
R. Kelly performs at Madison Square Garden on October 16, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
Singer R. Kelly performs at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performs at at Arise Made In Africa Spring 2012 Designer Collective at Mercedes Benz NY Fashion Week Afterparty at Jumeirah Essex House on September 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images for Arise Made in Africa)
R. Kelly attends a "Trapped In The Closet" screening at Sunshine Cinema on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performs at MSG Theater on November 21, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Rapper R. Kelly (R) performs with musician Thomas Mars (L) of Phoenix onstage during day 2 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 13, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)
R. Kelly performs onstage during R. Kelly, New Edition and The Jacksons at the 2013 BET Experience at Staples Center on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)
(L-R) Actors Sanaa Lathan, singer-songwriter R. Kelly, Nia Long and Melissa De Sousa attend "The Best Man Holiday" screening at Chelsea Bow Tie Cinemas on November 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Singers R. Kelly (L) and Lady Gaga perform onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Recording artist R. Kelly performs onstage during the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Lucian Grainge at The Beverly Hilton on January 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
Recording Artist R. Kelly attends Sony Pictures’ "THINK LIKE MAN TOO" Atlanta Red Carpet Screening With Kevin Hart, LaLa Anthony, Terrence J, Romany Malco and Tim Story, at Regal Atlantic Station 24 on June 11, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Singer R. Kelly attends the Ovadia & Sons front row during New York Fashion Week: Men’s S/S 2016 at Skylight Clarkson Sq on July 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center on September 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performs during The Buffet Tour at Allstate Arena on May 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)
Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Kelly is facing multiple sexual assault charges and is being held without bail. (Photo by Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)