As the child pornography trial of R&B superstar R.Kelly looms closer, attorneys for both sides recently added five new jurors.
As previously reported by SOHH, three jurors had already been selected; two African-Americans (one man and one woman) and a white man. Now the number has been increased to eight jurors, with five more having been selected on Tuesday (May 13), now consisting of five men and three women and an even split of both black and white jurors, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. This makes the selection process half complete, as 12 jurors and four alternates will ultimately be picked.
Of the recently added jurors is a 20-something white woman studying criminal justice who aspires to be a police officer.
When asked her views of the justice system, she said, "I like it and think it is a fair system when done properly." The woman professed to know nothing about the R. Kelly case, except that he is a singer who had been arrested. She said she barely knows his music, just the "very old stuff."
Another juror, an African-American man, a student, said he heard about the case on TV and radio, but could "absolutely" put that aside and judge the case on the evidence.
"I haven't seen the tape, and I haven't followed the story," he said.
A white man also selected said he had past experience as a juror, having served on two civil cases.
Another juror, a black woman in her 20s, is a teacher's assistant at St. Agatha parish, the church on the West Side of Chicago where the Rev. Daniel McCormack worked before pleading guilty last year to sexually abusing boys. The woman said she had previously discussed the Kelly case with friends, who are divided on his guilt or innocence.
The fifth juror picked Tuesday is a compliance officer with a Chicago investment firm. The man said he had looked the Kelly case up on the Internet and read a "couple of stories," and that he knew someone who had been a victim of sexual abuse. But he said neither factor would prevent him from being fair.
"I'd hold myself to a very high standard," he said.
It is speculated that the remaining jury spots could be filled by week's end as selection will continue today.
Kelly is facing 14 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 15 years
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