CHICAGO — The jurors in the R. Kelly child-pornography trial didn’t doubt whether it was the singer on the tape — they just doubted whether it was the girl prosecutors said it was.
“I thought it was R. Kelly on the tape,” juror #9 said after the verdict was rendered. “I just wasn’t 100 percent on the girl.”
The five jurors who agreed to speak to the press following their not-guilty verdict said they felt the state hadn’t presented enough evidence and that having the alleged victim on the stand would have made the difference.
“The key problem was the identity of the female,” juror #23 said. “Her absence was a major lack.”
“The family was too divided,” said juror #9, who in the preliminary votes had voted for a guilty verdict. “So you had to discount the family testimony either way.”
This didn’t mean that the jurors bought all the defense arguments wholesale. The missing mole , for instance, was a non-issue, they said. They didn’t want to examine the video any further, either.
“I’ve seen that video way too many times,” juror #21 said. “The first time was too many.”
Being sequestered — and the prospect of remaining sequestered over Father’s Day — was not a factor in their quick verdict, they said.
THE R. KELLY TRIAL: IN BRIEF
Status of Trial
What Was at Stake?
For full coverage of the ongoing R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Trial Reports.
“We wanted to go home, but we knew what we had to do,” said juror #21. Nodding in agreement was juror #40, who just earlier that day had asked to be relieved of duty .
Had he — or juror #40 — been relieved, the vote would have gone very differently, said the three alternates who were dismissed earlier in the day. Jurors 65, 73 and 72 said in a separate news conference before the verdict was rendered that they were leaning toward guilty. “My opinion leans towards that it is him with the girl in the video,” said juror #65.
Things might have also gone differently had evidence of Kelly’s marriage to a then-15-year-old Aaliyah or the criminal sexual conduct lawsuits against him been part of the case, the seated jurors said, but that was not what they were given to consider.
“I didn’t even know about that,” juror #23 said. “But as jurors, we have to act within the confines of the law and what is legally presented.”
“It’s all just speculation,” juror #21 said. “Who knows what we would have found [otherwise]?”