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As the judge in R. Kelly’s upcoming trial questions potential jurors, she is prodding them to see how adamantly they believe women when it comes to sexual abuse.
Judge Ann Donnelly asked the prospective jurors in a Brooklyn federal court this week to set aside their feelings on the #MeToo movement so that they may remain impartial in this case, Insider reports.
One potential juror was dismissed after she told the judge that she believed that women “don’t lie about sexual harassment,” Rolling Stone reports. The judge excused another woman who said a childhood experience would make it difficult to hear evidence.
Another woman told Donnelly that “statistically” women don’t report sexual assault if it didn’t happen, according to Insider. She also said she had friends who have been taken advantage of by men who had “more clout.” When asked if she could put those feelings aside and remain objective, she said she could. She's remains a prospective juror.
"It's hard to meet any woman who hasn't been a victim of some sort of harassment," another potential juror told the judge. He said he tends to believe women. When he said he could put those feelings aside and remain impartial, he too remained in the jury pool.
Donnelly questioned 38 possible jurors and dismissed 13 of them this week in total. Kelly's federal trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 18.
The 54-year-old singer has been charged with abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. Prosecutors claim he led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who recruited women and girls for his sexual desires.
Kelly has denied the allegations and his defense has described his accusers as groupies who only started accusing him of abuse following the #MeToo movement.
However, the “Initiation” star has been plagued with accusations for decades about his sexual behavior. He was accused of child pornography in Chicago in 2002, which he was ultimately acquitted in of in 2008.
In Brooklyn, he faces more than a dozen criminal counts of sex trafficking, racketeering, coercion, and other charges in connection with the abuse of women and girls. He is also accused of producing child pornography and destroying evidence in a separate case in Illinois.
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