Chicago prosecutors are concerned for jurors in a new state case in which R. Kelly is accused of multiple counts of possessing child pornography.
According to Radar Online, prosecutors have asked a judge to keep the identities of the jurors under seal out of concern for their safety and also to prevent harassment by the singer’s fans.
Last month, Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on federal charges of sex trafficking and racketeering. He will face separate state criminal charges this month in his native Illinois. Jurors in the New York case had their identities concealed for their safety as well.
Prosecutors argue in a new motion that “due to the tremendous attention in this case from the media and other online platforms, the United States requests that a confidential jury be empaneled for trial.”
They have asked the judge to conceal the jurors’ names, their spouses names, city of residence and place of employment. Per the report, the prosecutors note that this step is necessary to “protect the jurors’ privacy and integrity, and to shield them from harassment by [Kelly’s] supporters.”
Kelly was charged by Illinois prosecutors in 2019. They noted that they have received numerous phone calls and other communications from “zealous Kelly supporters” and add that these supporters could attempt to influence the jury.
In their motion, they write, “Kelly is an international celebrity in the music industry. Between 1996 and 2015, Kelly was nominated for over 250 music awards, including 26 Grammy Awards. Kelly has a fervent fanbase, including many individuals who actively use various social media platforms to share their opinions about Kelly and his ongoing criminal cases.”