Embattled singer R. Kelly‘s legal team has taken steps to bar possible jurors who have seen “Surviving R. Kelly” from sitting in on his Chicago trial.
News of his legal team’s motion made the rounds following the singer’s previous conviction for sexual-related charges. The musician was given a 30-year prison sentence and is likely to get a longer term of imprisonment in light of the additional allegations.
Kelly’s legal team has made several moves to help get a lenient verdict for the artist, including proposing a witness that will argue that he suffered from “intellectual Disabilities.” Per reports, the team has also argued that jurors who have watched “Surviving R. Kelly” pose a significant risk to Kelly’s case.
Read on to learn more about the singers request.
R. Kelly’s Legal Team Says It’s ‘Too Great A Risk’
According to Radar Online, Kelly and his legal team have asked the court to exclude anybody who has watched even a little portion of Lifetime’s docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” off the list of potential jurors for his Chicago trial.
In the court documents submitted by Kelly’s legal team, they argued that such jurors have a potential risk of judging the singer negatively.
The documents read; “Any potential juror who has watched any portion of this docuseries must be disqualified for cause, irrespective of whether he/she believes he/she can be fair, where too great a risk exists that such a juror would base his/her verdict on matters not introduced into evidence in the courtroom.”
Later this month, the disgraced singer’s Chicago trial is scheduled to begin. He will be tried for several criminal offenses, including multiple counts of receiving child pornography and a conspiracy to obstruct justice related to his state court acquittal in 2008, among other serious charges.
Such Jurors Are Not ‘Qualified’
Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean further stated that the docuseries contained individuals who are also government witnesses, seemingly hinting that the arrangement will only favor the prosecution.
She said, “the docuseries contains extensive interviews with some of the government’s witnesses in this case, including Lisa Van Allen and Jerhonda Pace. Other individuals who appear in the docuseries are identified as potential witnesses in this matter, including Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards and Andrea Kelly.”
“There is no scenario under which any individual who watched Surviving R. Kelly could be qualified as a juror in this case whether the person admits it or not,” Bonjean also claimed. “Any person who has seen the documentary would possess information about the allegations in this indictment (and unrelated allegations) that would unquestionably interfere with his/her ability to decide the case based on the evidence that is introduced at trial.”
‘Surviving R. Kelly’
“Surviving R. Kelly” is a Lifetime documentary exploring the claims of sexual assault against the disgraced musician. On January 3, the show made its premiere, and various musicians, including Chance the Rapper, John Legend, and Stephanie Edwards, were included in the documentary.
Kelly’s final record company, RCA Records, severed its ties with him shortly after the documentary series premiered. More backlash came from his colleagues, like Lady Gaga and Ciara denouncing the singer and taking their collaborations off streaming sites.
On January 2, 2020, a second season, “Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning,” premiered to much critical acclaim. The spotlight from the series led to Kelly being charged with racketeering and sex trafficking crimes in a court in New York. In June 2022, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty by the jury.
R. Kelly’s Legal Team To Use The Singer’s Alleged ‘Intellectual Disabilities
Kelly’s legal team is yet to receive a response to the motion they filed. At the moment, it’s uncertain whether the court will find the theory sufficient to exclude such possible jurors from the trial. In the meantime, Radar Online also reported that Kelly’s legal team plans to use the singer’s “intellectual disabilities” as a case point for his upcoming trial.
Per the publication, the testimony regarding the singer’s disabilities will be given by Dr. Daniel Martell, who tested Kelly months ago. The prosecution has since argued that the expert’s testimony was not relevant to the case and has moved to exclude him from the list of witnesses the defense has offered.
“Dr. Martell’s testimony should be excluded, however, because it is not relevant, it is not helpful to the jury’s understanding of the issues in the case, and it is unduly confusing and prejudicial,” the court documents revealed.