R. Kelly trial: Day One

Protesters shout 'R Kelly is a paedophile, lock him up'

The trial of R Kelly officially began today (May 9) at 12pm CST, with members of the media and a small crowd outside the Cook County Criminal Courts in Chicago.

Kelly arrived at around 9.45am, wearing a blue-ish grey suit and flanked by five bodyguards. Members of the crowd shouted “R Kelly is a paedophile, lock him up,” while others yelled “Free R Kelly!” Two men held banners aloft saying “R Kelly, world’s greatest paedophile!”

Kelly‘s legal team made yet another motion to delay the trial this morning, citing a newspaper article in today’s Chicago Sun-Times that reports Kelly allegedly tried to pay off a witness in the case.

The legal team earlier this week tried to postpone the case, which was pending for six years, citing other media coverage of the case and arguing that it could affect Kelly‘s chance of a fair trial.

For his part, Judge Vincent Gaughan has kept the case and hearings sealed so far, in an effort to allow Kelly a fair trial.

This morning, Gaughan said the media would be allowed into the courtroom for the jury selection process, but this afternoon members of the media complained about the lack of access to the court after sheriff deputies blocked them from entering the courtroom. Approximately 150 potential jurors were brought into the Chicago courtroom around noon, but the media was locked out.

When the media sent a note to the judge asking for access, he said “No, not right now.” Reporters have now missed the first unsealing of the indictment of the singer.

Twenty jurors will be interviewed each day with a total of 16 being selected, and four serving as alternates, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The hearings will begin at 9am each day from Monday-Thursday.

Kelly, 41, faces child pornography charges after allegedly videotaping himself having sex with a minor sometime between January 1998 and November 2000.

The R&B star sat through today’s proceedings looking sombre, and left the court as soon as the jurors were dismissed.

–By our New York staff.

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