R. Kelly’s federal trial on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking will be heard by an anonymous and partially sequestered jury, CNN reported this week.
The decision to grant anonymity to the R&B singer’s jury is rather rare — most of the time, the cases involve a serious threat in the form of a defendant with ties to a mob or terrorist organization. U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly defended her decision in a ruling issued on Oct. 8 and unsealed on Friday.
“Empaneling an anonymous jury is appropriate given the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s history of obstructing the judicial process, the potential for juror intimidation and the intensity of media attention given to this case,” she wrote.
Incidents in R. Kelly’s past likely influenced the decision, including the August arrest of three of his associates who were charged with attempting to threaten and bribe alleged victims.
Kelly is currently being held without bail in federal prison in Chicago.
His defense lawyer Steve Greenberg didn’t immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.