Jurors in the R. Kelly child pornography case will have the original copy of the alleged sex tape during their deliberations, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Tuesday. They will also be provided with a VCR and a television set with which to watch the tape.
The defense sought to bar jurors from taking the tape with them into the jury room, saying it might cause them to give it more weight than other evidence.
Defense lawyer Sam Adam Sr. said he had no problem with the jurors reviewing the tape in open court. "The jury sends your honor a note that says they want to see it, that's fine," Adam said.
"What we do object to is the jury taking the tape back and viewing it in the jury room... Lots of things can happen. The tape can break. It can be erased," Adam said.
But prosecutor Shauna Boliker said the original tape — known as People's Exhibit 1 — was "the nucleus of the case."
"The evidence centers around this particular tape," Boliker said. Forcing the jury to come out in open court and sit down in the jury box to review parts of the tape would inconvenience jurors and intrude on the secrecy of deliberations, she said.
Gaughan sided with prosecutors, saying, "People's Exhibit No. 1 ... is the subject of this trial." As such, it was "absolutely necessary" to deliberations, he said.
"It will go back to the jury room," the judge said. However, the judge said he would instruct the jury not to give it more weight than other evidence.
The judge also appointed one of the sheriff's deputies in his courtroom to be the "mechanical operator of the VCR.''