R. Kelly

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The topic was extortion. Here's telling whether it pays off for the defense.

A private investigator testified on R. Kelly's behalf Thursday that the fiancé of Lisa Van Allen, the prosecution's so-called star witness who told the court yesterday that she engaged in several threesomes with the singer and the underage girl he's accused of making a sex tape with, attempted to extort $300,000 from Kelly in exchange for his girlfriend's silence.

Van Allen had testified Wednesday about meeting once with Jack Palladino, saying the P.I. threatened her.

But Palladino said he believed that Van Allen's fiancé, Yul Brown, was trying to hit Kelly up for money when he happened to mention that Van Allen was looking at a possible $300,000 book deal to write about her relationship with the R&B star and that they would make the decision that was best for their family.

"I didn't believe there was a book deal. The $300,000 was a coded way to get money from my client," Palladino testified. "I assumed they were trying to solicit money from my client."

On cross-examination, prosecutor Bob Heilingoetter pressed Palladino about whether Brown and Van Allen actually said specifically that they wanted money from Kelly.

"There's little doubt about what that meant," Palladino replied. "It meant, 'I want to take care of them financially.'"

"The conversation was recorded from beginning to end," he added.

Also on the stand for the defense today was forensic video analyst Charles Palm, who was called to rebut the expert testimony of Grant Fredericks, who testified last week that, in his opinion, the copy of the sex tape authorities used to go after Kelly was not doctored and that it would take a massive amount of time to put it together. (He couldn't say for sure, however, that the very first incarnation of the tape was the real deal.)

Palm testified that the video was of "such poor quality," he found it hard to believe Fredericks could be so sure. He also said that a mole spied on the back of the man in the tape, which Fredericks pointed out was similar to one that Kelly has, was actually a shadow that disappeared and reappeared depending on the lighting in the frame.

Kelly's "is a fairly high-contrast mole on the skin. I would expect to see it as a persistent image," Palm said. "[The mark on the guy in the tape] was not anything that was physically a part of the back of the individual."

He also testified that he thinks the tape had been edited, and he demonstrated how easy it was to manipulate such images, showing the jury several frames he had doctored himself.

When the prosecution questioned him about his lack of expertise—Palm has a doctorate in engineering and is reportedly not recognized as an authority in the video analysis field—Palm said computers make editing easy, even for those with no formal training.

"The computer can do something like this in just a matter of a few seconds," Palm said.

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