R. Kelly’s Chicago trial begins, a ‘horrific’ hit-and-run and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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R. Kelly’s defense attorneys, Ashley Cohen, left, and Jennifer Bonjean, walk into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

R. Kelly’s defense attorneys, Ashley Cohen, left, and Jennifer Bonjean, walk into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Top story

Jury selection begins in R. Kelly’s 2nd Chicago trial

Jury selection in the trial of Chicago-born R&B superstar R. Kelly opened Monday, the start of the singer’s second trial on federal charges he allegedly filmed sex acts with underage girls and conspired to rig his 2008 child-pornography trial.

Jury selection at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in the Loop began around 10:30 a.m, after a brief hearing on pre-trial motions in front of Judge Harry D. Leinenweber. The scene around the courthouse was quiet, with none of the crowds and fanfare of Chicago native Kelly’s last trial in his hometown in 2008 when he was acquitted on child pornography charges in a state-level trial.

Then, fans waited outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse as the singer walked in and out of the courthouse —Jerhonda Pace, who testified against Kelly during his federal racketeering trial in New York federal court earlier this year, met the star when she cut class as a 16-year-old to cheer for Kelly, an encounter that led to a years-long series of sexual encounters that began after his acquittal.

Monday, no fans or protesters were to be seen on sidewalks outside the federal courthouse, perhaps because Kelly won’t be coming and going from court. Kelly has been in federal custody since his 2019 arrest outside his Trump Tower condo, and just weeks ago a federal judge in his New York case sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

Kelly defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean predicted Friday on Twitter that it “will be difficult to find 12 people who can be fair given the media war on my client. The government starts with an incredible advantage but we are going to fight like hell to get a jury that will follow the law.”

Andy Grimm and Jon Seidel have more from the first day of Kelly’s trial in Chicago’s federal court.

More news you need

  1. Multiple gunmen got out of a white sedan near the entrance of Six Flags Great America and began shooting at an individual, then got back into the vehicle and drove off as families ran for cover, Gurnee police spokesperson Shawn Gaylor said of what happened last night. “This was not an active shooter incident inside the theme park,” Gaylor said.
  2. Former Gov. Pat Quinn, a potential mayoral race candidate, today called on City Hall to release a watchdog report on the botched implosion in Little Village two years ago. Quinn disputes the city officials’ assertions that the law forbids them from making the report public.
  3. A dispute that spilled from the Jeffery Pub in South Shore sparked a “horrific” hit-and-run crash that killed three people and injured another over the weekend, according to authorities. The car used in the attack was later recovered just four blocks from the scene and no arrests have been made, police said.
  4. Former Notre Dame star Manti Te’o, who famously became the victim of a catfishing hoax almost a decade ago, “still comes across as genuinely baffled and emotionally bruised by the whole saga,” Richard Roeper writes in a three-star review of a new Netflix documentary on the story. Read Roeper’s review of “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist” here.
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A bright one

Black Women’s Expo offers roadmap to financial health, mental wellness and business success

When Merry Green first decided 28 years ago to put together an expo just for Black women, she never would have guessed the massive success it would become.

Working as the promotions director for the radio station V103, she often organized events aimed at connecting businesses to Black customers. Through that work, she saw an opportunity to create an event just for Black women and founded the first Black Women’s Expo in 1993.

The 27th annual Black Women’s Expo was held this weekend, featuring over 400 booths at McCormick Place offering everything from business advice to hair care tips and selling products ranging from clothing to insurance. Sponsors of the expo included J.P. Morgan Chase, Walgreens and Verizon.

A guest artist sings on stage at the Black Women’s Expo at the McCormick Place on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022.

A guest artist sings on stage at the Black Women’s Expo at the McCormick Place, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“When the expo took off, we knew we’d hit on something. Women filled the lobby at the first expo, and keep coming back year after year,” Green said. “This event really empowers women and gives them a chance to meet people and learn how to do things like grow their businesses and create community.”

From Friday to Sunday, participants explored the many exhibits and attended sessions that covered topics including health equity, financial help for growing a business and mental wellness.

“This expo not only gives women information, but it also gives them confidence,” Green said. “Women come up to me and thank me for doing this and tell me that it’s changed their lives.”

Kaitlin Washburn has more from the expo and its participants at McCormick Place.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Do you like swimming in Lake Michigan? Where’s the best place to do it?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Harry Caray at “Field of Dreams,” Tupac at Coachella, etc. How do you feel about holograms appearing at major events? Here's what some of you said...

“Creepy! Besides the fact Jack Brickhouse was the true Cubs announcer.” — Lori Ellen

“This is not ‘The Sixth Sense.’ I don’t want to see dead people.” — Florence Bernberg

“Let the dead rest in peace and stop prostituting their fame for the almighty dollar.” — Nina Talso

“I think it’s stupid and creepy.” — Jackie Waldhier

“Does not bother me.” — Robert Sanders

“Keeps special people & memories alive!” — Mary V. Czarnik

“Don’t care! It’s just nice to see some icons like they never left us.” — Tony Jordan

“There have been hologram tours for Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. While it would be nice to hear the music live, it was too creepy and ghoulish for me.” — Howard Moore 

“The holograms of deceased people acting like they’re alive, creeps me out! That Harry Caray didn’t even look like the real thing! I think it’s actually a disservice and not attribute to those who passed away and we still love! No matter how you hard you try, you can’t raise the dead!” — Don Holley

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