Potential jurors in the R. Kelly child pornography trial are being asked their feelings about race, religion -- and the power of money in the criminal justice system.
“Money talks,” one potential juror wrote on her questionnaire. During individual questioning, the woman elaborated: “The people that have money, they don’t have to pay the consequences.”
Potential jurors are being questioned one at a time by Judge Vincent Gaughan, prosecutors and lawyers for Kelly. Gaughan is conducting the questioning in the jury deliberation room, rather than in the main courtroom.
The "money talks" woman, who is white, admitted she might have a problem sitting in judgment of a black defendant. She cited an experiece in which her daughter was threatened by her boyfriend who was of a different race. "Of all the questions, it's like, how impartial can I be on that? Because it's emotional."
Kelly, wearing a conservative gray suit and tie and a crisp white shirt, rarely made eye contact with the jurors. Instead, he frequently held a tissue against his nose.
Another potential juror, an African-American woman from Olympia Fields, said her husband was a pastor in a Baptist church. The well-dressed woman told Gaughan she could judge Kelly on the facts and the law, in spite of her religious views.
She said she was once the victim of a crime -- a home invasion in which a mentally ill man broke into her house when she and her husband were in bed. She pressed charges and got an order of protection against the man, she said.
Jury selection is continuining.