Embattled R&B singer, R.Kelly who is accused of sexual assault in several US states, appeared in court on Monday as jury selection began in his federal New York trial.
Dressed in a navy blue suit, the 54-year-old appeared stoic as the questioning of jurors began in the Brooklyn court, where he faces charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and forced labor, spanning from 1994 to 2018.
Kelly’s lawyer Deveraux Cannick was reticent when asked by AFP how he was feeling, smiling and saying: “Just another Monday.”
The musician born Robert Sylvester Kelly, currently incarcerated at a Brooklyn federal prison, has denied all charges.
All prospective jurors will remain anonymous and be partly sequestered throughout the process. Those selected for the trial will be escorted to and from court by US marshals, which is not abnormal in such high-profile trials.
Following jury selection, testimony is due to begin on August 18.
New York is the first state to see Kelly stand trial in connection with a recent raft of state and federal indictments in four different jurisdictions.
He is accused of abusing six women, who have remained anonymous.
“Jane Doe #1” is widely believed to be the RnB singer Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash at age 22 in 2001.
The indictment alleges that Kelly paid an Illinois government employee in 1994 to obtain a fake ID to marry an underage girl. Kelly notoriously married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27, a union that was later annulled.