Attorneys in R&B superstar R. Kelly's child pornography trial are expected to begin questioning 150 potential jurors on Monday and it is unlikely any of his fans will be chosen to hear the allegations against one of urban music's biggest stars. Selecting a jury should take about a week, and the trial itself could take several weeks. A jury was chosen for the Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson trials and find one will be selected for this trial too. The selection of the 16 jurors, four of them alternates, will be key for both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
The 41-year-old hitmaker, known for sexually charged hits like "Bump N' Grind," has pleaded not guilty to charges that he videotaped himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. This is a case where a celebrity has good and bad public images, on one hand he is singing the gospel-like “I Believe I Can Fly” and on the other he is performing sexually infused songs like “Ignition” .
When the trial gets under way, prosecutors will face a daunting challenge: The girl believed to be on the videotape, who is now 23, says it wasn't her. Prosecutors say the videotape was made between Jan. 1, 1998, and Nov. 1 2000, and that the girl who appears in it was born in September 1984. Kelly was indicted on pornography charges June 5, 2002, after the tape surfaced.
I am definitely not taking up for R. Kelly, but let us look at this issue from a historical perspective.
— When Jerry Lee Lewis, rock’n’roll musician, married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown, in 1957, radio stations refused to play his music, bookings were cancelled and several years passed before his career recovered
— Miami Vice actor Don Johnson was 22 when he began a four-year relationship with 14-year-old Melanie Griffith. She moved in with him and they were married three years later. She went on to become a star in her own right
— In 1992 film director Woody Allen was accused of sleeping with his partner Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon Yi Previn. She was 21, he was 56. They were later married
— Elvis Presley met Priscilla in 1959 in Germany, where her father was stationed at an airbase near Friedberg. Elvis, too, was based there while in the army. She was invited to a party at Elvis’s home. Priscilla was 14, Elvis 24. They married eight years later in 1967
— Bill Wyman started “dating” 13-year-old Mandy Smith in 1983 when he was 47. They married six years later – and divorced two years after that
The only difference is that Kelly's indiscretion was caught on film. Were any of these performers prosecuted? NO. Should they have been? YES, that is if we are playing by the same set of rules. This has been happening for years, yet no one has been prosecuted for the offense until now.
Check out this clip from "The Trial of R. Kelly".