R. Kelly Reappears in Court for New Federal Trial

R. Kelly has returned to court as part of the R&B singer's latest federal trial, beginning earlier in August. Jury selection wasted little time getting underway on day one of the new court proceedings against the disgraced musician in his hometown of Chicago. Kelly faces allegations that the singer lured five minors into having sex with him, and obstructed a 2008 state case that ended with his acquittal.

Kelly – born Robert Sylvester Kelly – has also been accused of producing child sexual abuse imagery and conspiring to conceal evidence and intimidate victims with the help of former employees Derrel McDavid and Milton "June" Brown, who are also accused of aiding him. All three have denied the allegations against them. The trial is expected to last four weeks, and at least one of Kelly's alleged victims is expected to testify against him, according to court documents.

In a motion filed Sunday, The Chicago Tribune reported Kelly's attorney Jennifer Bonjean requested the exclusion of any prospective juror who watched the Netflix documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, which brought to light many of the allegations against the artist. Kelly's legal team reportedly argued selecting jurors who had watched the docuseries was "unfair."

Bonjean reportedly said, "Allowing an individual to sit on this jury who has seen Surviving R. Kelly is no different than allowing a juror to sit on the jury who was permitted to preview the discovery in this case." Bojean also reportedly added that some possible members of the jury indicated they had watched the documentary, which she called "absurd".

Judge Harry Leinenweber reportedly denied the request from Kelly's attorneys, saying that an overall rejection of jurors who had seen the docuseries was not appropriate. Kelly was previously sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after being convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering charges in a separate trial. Kelly was accused of concocting a massive scheme to lure and sexually exploit young aspiring singers and minors. A jury in September found Kelly guilty on all nine counts, including multiple counts of racketeering. The singer, who denied all charges throughout the trial, was also found to have violated the anti-sex trafficking law referred to as the Mann Act.