After he was found guilty of sexual trafficking, R. Kelly’s lawyers want to know the names, addresses and employers of potential jurors in the disgraced R&B star’s Brooklyn trial so they can determine the jurors’ potential biases via social media, according to a new motion.
According to a filing cited by the New York Daily, the argument from the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s defense attorney comes after federal prosecutors requested an anonymous and sequestered jury in the case, similar to how the case of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was handled. Kelly’s lawyers said they would not share the information on jurors with their client.
“The names of the potential jurors must be made available to Mr. Kelly’s counsel and the Government,” wrote Kelly’s lawyer, Michael Leonard, Wednesday. “Mr. Kelly and his counsel are not requesting that those names be made available to Mr. Kelly as well — even though there is no legitimate reason not to do so.”
Kelly’s defense team would run the potential jurors’ personal information through Google searches and social media outlets to try to determine the “thought processes and actual and potential biases of potential jurors — not to mention insight into what they have read, heard, or posted about Mr. Kelly or this case.”
In their request filed earlier this month to make potential jurors anonymous, federal prosecutors cited previous instances in which Kelly, 53, allegedly threatened witnesses in his court cases.
“(Kelly) has told multiple individuals, including one as recently as 2018, that they needed to select a side: his side or the other side, and implicitly threatened that selecting the other side could result in physical harm to that person or that person’s family,” the government’s memo reads.
Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, faces racketeering charges in Brooklyn Federal Court for allegedly running an enterprise in which women and girls were selected from the audience at his shows and then recruited as sexual partners. He is also accused of knowingly transmitting STDs to a teen groupie.
He is also charged with engaging in unlawful sexual activity with three girls under the age of 18 and making child pornography.
Kelly is being held in Chicago federal jail, where he faces sex-trafficking charges in a federal case in Illinois.
A Chicago native, the disgraced star also has a pending state case in the Windy City for alleged sexual abuse of underage girls.