R Kelly opening arguments start; juror dismissed

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The sex videotape allegedly made by R&B superstar R. Kelly took center stage immediately as his child pornography trial started today — with prosecutors and defense lawyers squaring off about who is in on the tape and where it came from.

Kelly, 41, is charged with making a sex video of himself engaged in sex acts with a girl as young as 13. He has pleaded not guilty.

Six years after Kelly was charged, the trial began at 11:30 today with opening statements.

“Everything was written, directed and choreographed by Robert Kelly. The angle, the lighting,” assistant state’s attorney Shauna Boliker said of the tape, which could be played for jurors this afternoon.

“This case is about child pornography that was created, staged, produced and starred in by the defendant that sits before you, Robert Kelly,” Boliker told the jury.

But defense lawyer Sam Adam Jr. said the case was “simple.”

“Robert Kelly is not on that tape. I stand before you on May 20, 2008 to tell you [the alleged victim] is not on that tape,” Adam said.

Adam said a mole at the center of Kelly’s lower back will prove it is not the singer who appears on the video. He told jurors that when the video was shown, it would become clear the man on the tape had no such mole.

Adam also tried to shed doubts on the tape’s origins, noting it was not an original but a “copy of a copy of copy.” The tape was not found at R. Kelly’s residence, he said, but was delivered anonymously to a Sun-Times reporter.

Adam also said the alleged victim is “a wonderful person,” but that the alleged girl on the tape is paid at the beginning.

“The woman on that tape, paid with money, she is a prostitute,” Adam said, his voice rising.

The Sun-Times reporter who received the tape six years ago and turned it over to police -- Jim Derogatis -- has been subpoenaed by the defense. Gaughan said Derogatis should appear in court this Friday to discuss the subpoena.

Adam also noted that the alleged victim will not be testifying for the prosecution.

During opening statements, Kelly sat looking at jurors, his brow furrowed.

Earlier in the morning, a juror was dismissed after telling the judge the trial would cause her financial hardship. The first alternate, a white male, was immediately seated as a juror.

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How does the defense know that this is a prostitute if they contend that this is not their client? How do they know who this woman is? Or for that matter, the man? They must know who the man is if they claim to know who the woman is.

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R. Kelly on trial

The story of the allegations against R. Kelly started here in the Sun-Times. Almost six years later, it's now finally reached a trial.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric Herman published on May 20, 2008 12:31 PM.

Is Kelly's brother going to testify — against him? was the previous entry in this blog.

Tape shown to jury is the next entry in this blog.

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