R. Kelly jury selection continues, Lady Gaga takes over Wrigley Field 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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FILE - Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on June 6, 2019. Kelly’s federal trial starts Monday in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File) ORG XMIT: NYET601

Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on June 6, 2019.

Amr Alfiky/AP file photo

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.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 79 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low near 63. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 80.

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Top story

R. Kelly jury selection continues in trial’s 2nd day

Jury selection in R. Kelly’s federal criminal trial continued for a second day today, with an extra-large pool of jurors expected to be winnowed down to the 12 that will sit in judgment of the Chicago-born R&B star.

Nearly half of the more than 60 prospective jurors screened by the judge yesterday were dismissed, with more than a dozen eliminated Tuesday morning.

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber said he expected to seat all 12 jurors and six alternates by the end of the day, and suggested he wouldn’t wait until Wednesday to begin opening statements.

That timeline seemed tenuous after the second juror questioned by the judge this morning collapsed after having what Leinenweber called a “spell.” The juror, a Black woman who appeared to be in her 50s, was conscious and talking with courtroom staff before leaving the courtroom. Leinenweber dismissed her from the jury.

Kelly’s lawyers today complained that prospective jurors who had been in the courtroom yesterday had heard information about the case that would be inadmissible during the trial when the judge asked jurors what they knew about Kelly’s legal troubles, or the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary.

Several jurors said they were aware that Kelly had already been convicted on federal charges in New York last year. Today, Leinenweber asked those questions in a sidebar with only the juror and lawyers able to hear.

The 55-year-old Kelly was sentenced in June to 30 years in prison by the judge in his federal trial in New York.

Andy Grimm and Jon Seidel have the latest on day two of Kelly’s trial here.

More news you need

  1. A woman whose feet were severed in a boating accident in the “Playpen” near Oak Street Beach over the weekend says she would have drowned had her husband not pulled her out of the water at the last second. “I truly began to drown,” Lana Batochir, 34, said on a GoFundMe page that is raising money for her recovery.
  2. A 17-year-old has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly trying to carjack a retired police officer in his Lawndale driveway Sunday, leading to a shootout that left the teen and the officer wounded. The teen was arrested later that day when he showed up at a hospital wearing the same clothes he did during the attack, police said.
  3. The Highland Park City Council yesterday unanimously approved a resolution urging state and federal bans on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and other actions to curb gun violence. In her latest column, our Lynn Sweet explains the resolution’s significance as Democrats in Springfield ponder their next move.
  4. Volunteers gathered at Nicholas Senn High School yesterday to assemble boxes filled with items aimed at improving high school students’ mental health. Suicide prevention org Find Your Anchor partnered with CPS, Children First Fund and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to assemble and distribute about 400 boxes to students across the district.
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A bright one

Lady Gaga pulls out all the fabulously bizarre pop stops at Wrigley Field

Hollywood may have borrowed her for a while, but music has its leading lady back. And after a four-year break, Lady Gaga is showing how a pop star is reborn, in this case via The Chromatica Ball tour, writes Selena Fragassi in her concert review for the Sun-Times.

The limited trek — just 12 cities in North America — is in support of her 2020 “Chromatica” album that marked a successful return to Gaga’s dance-pop foundation and her beautifully bizarre aesthetic that turned a lot of heads early in her career.

The Ball — “not a tour,” as Gaga explained at a very sold-out concert last night at Wrigley Field where any extra space — was taken up by fans’ winged/spiked/sparkled costumes that paid homage to the many eras of the 36-year-old Gaga.


Lady Gaga performs at Wrigley Field during her Chromatica Ball tour stop last night.

Selena Fragassi/For the Sun-Times

It was in fact her second time playing the ballpark, though a far cry from the vibe of 2017’s Joanne World Tour performance, that occasion notable for being the first time a woman headlined the stadium — and for presenting a stripped-down mirage of the artist who once made headlines for wearing a meat dress.

Those subtleties were all gone on this night, in favor of cosplay, fetishism, alien-esque neofuturism, Dada theatrics and a flipbook of highly produced video vignettes.

The two-hour spectacle was broken into five easily digestible acts, each ending with an interlude that was an intentional moment to focus on her incredible dancers and backing musicians, not the least of which was keyboardist Brockett Parsons and his amazing 360-degree piano arc invention.

Fragassi has more details about the performance in her full review here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Are large music festivals good for Chicago? Tell us why or why not.

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

Yesterday, we asked you: Do you like swimming in Lake Michigan? Where’s the best place to do it?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Raised my kids in Hyde Park so summers were spent at the Point and 57th street beach. Best. Beach. Ever.” — Joanne Mims

“Rainbow Beach — beautiful memories.” — Margaret Quinn

“Not since I was a kid. That water is too nasty now.” — Anita Renae

“We’re at Montrose Beach right now. Love the lake! But my favorite to go swimming or into the water further is North Ave, Oak St and Ohio St beach” — Brice Notardonato Ellett

“I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan at South Shore Country Club, now Cultural Center. We would roll in sand to warm up and jump back in to rinse off.” — Mary Ann O’Rourke

“The lifeguard-free places where you can swim in water above knee height.” — Edgar Florentino

“You have to swim there at least once in your life lifetime or you’re not from Chicago.” — Cindi Miller Brand Maloy

“As a former competitive swimmer, I would say Ohio Street Beach. I was home visiting last week and swam there on Saturday.” — Katy Stevens

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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