Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis must testify for the defense in R. Kelly's child porn trial, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled this morning.
DeRogatis passed the notorious sex tape at the center of the case to police for investigation in 2002, and Kelly's attorneys say it is "crucial" to the singer's defense that DeRogatis testify.
Sun-Times attorney Damon Dunn argued Friday morning that DeRogatis should be protected from testifying by the Illinois reporter's privilege and the First Amendment. Kelly's attorneys were attempting to create a "chilling effect" against reporters covering Kelly by bringing DeRogatis in to testify, he said.
Anything DeRogatis could say in court would be "irrelevant" to Kelly's defense, he added.
But Gaughan sided with Kelly's attorney Marc Martin, saying that the reporter's privilege only protects journalists from identifying their sources. Gaughan said he would not allow Kelly's team to question DeRogatis about his sources, or to ask him how he got the tape, or to ask DeRogatis if he made a copy of the tape. "He will have to testify," Gaughan concluded.
Gaughan also said DeRogatis would have to turn over any notes relating to that meeting with Sparkle, saying that he did not believe that would reveal anything about DeRogatis's sources.
Previous testimony has shown that DeRogatis told police an anonymous tipster left the tape in his mailbox.
In ruling that DeRogatis must testify, Gaughan said the defense had said "seven times that they are not interested in his sources."
Kelly's attorneys say they believe DeRogatis may undermine the testimony of Stephanie "Sparkle" Edwards, who told police she had seen a copy of the tape with DeRogatis after DeRogatis had passed the tape to police.
Martin told Gaughan, "This case began with Mr. DeRogatis passing on that tape and we certainly have a right to present that evidence to the jury."
Martin added that DeRogatis had a "extreme bias" against Kelly.
He added, "The bias was so strong that it impelled the reporter to violate the law," suggesting that DeRogatis had made an "illegal" copy of the tape before passing it to police.
Speaking outside court after Gaughan's ruling, Dunn said DeRogatis would appeal.