‘This is going to be a challenging case’: Defense tells jurors in R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – Wednesday there are opening statements in the Chicago lawsuit against R&B star R. Kelly who is accused of manipulating his child pornography case in 2008.

It was a rough start to the opening as there was a 35 minute delay after a judge called about a medical issue and was replaced by a substitute. Two other jurors were also trapped on a train.

Prosecutors began by saying that Kelly had sex with multiple children — detailing four videotapes, including an underage girl named “Jane” featured in each video. However, the defense questioned the authenticity of the fourth video.

Kelly’s head, Jennifer Bonjean, told the jury to be brave because “this is a challenging case” and very few people go into the process with a clean slate.

She also says she deserves an unbiased jury and to look at each of those 13 counts individually and determine whether the government has met its burden on each of them — presenting him as a monster.

Kelly was reintroduced to the jury as a Grammy award-winning singer who went from high school dropout to singing on the subway to become a star.

“You’re not asked if he’s a good or bad person…that’s for social media.”

Jury selection for the trial completed on Tuesday. In total, the jury selection lasted two days, with a judge on Tuesday evening swearing in the jury with 12 jurors and six deputies.

The opening statements would last about three hours, with federal prosecutors saying they would need about an hour, while Kelly’s defense team said they would need about 45 minutes.

Attorneys for Kelly’s former business manager and another employee who is being tried alongside him said it would take them about an hour in total.

Kelly faces 13 federal charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice.

Federal prosecutors say he and his associates colluded to manipulate his 2008 Cook County child pornography trial.

They are accused of bribing or otherwise intimidating witnesses, including a teenage girl whom he allegedly sexually assaulted on videotape. Kelly was acquitted at that trial.

This time, that teenage girl, now in her thirties, is expected to be the star witness — testifying that those 2008 denials were a lie and that she had sex with Kelly as a minor.

Kelly has already been sentenced to 30 years in prison in a federal sex trafficking case in New York. He would face at least another ten years if convicted on the charges in his hometown of Chicago, with the potential for decades to come.

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