R. Kelly

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

UPDATE: Another woman identified both the alleged victim and R. Kelly in the singer's sex tape in court today, testifying the girl was a minor when the recording was made. Audrey Hampton, a 23-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin, said she played basketball with the girl and went to school with her for several years.

"There's no question" that's her friend, Hampton said, adding that she recognized her face, voice and some of her mannerisms, such as "the way she licked the bottom of her lip." She admitted under cross-examination, however, that she couldn't recognize her friend's body per se.

Hampton's mother also testified, saying she found the tape in her daughter's bedroom in early 2000, watched it and promptly threw it away without ever showing it to the police.

Also on Thursday, a woman was arrested outside the courtroom after she shouted "Free R. Kelly!" at the jurors as they got off the elevator. She was taken into custody on a contempt charge and held in lieu of $50,000 bail. The jury told the judge they didn't hear what she said and the day continued as scheduled.
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R. Kelly's lawyers may be arguing that the R&B star has been wrongfully accused when it comes to his alleged taped encounter with a not-at-all legal girl, but a handful of people have already called it as the prosecution sees it.

During testimony given yesterday in Kelly's child-pornography trial, which kicked off Tuesday with a courtroom viewing of the sex tape in question, four witnesses—including two relatives—positively identified the girl who Chicago authorities maintain is on the tape (which they say was made about 10 years ago when she was only 13 or 14).

The girl, who's now 23, has denied it's her on the video.

Simha Johnson, who says she was the alleged victim's best friend growing up, told the court she saw the Kelly tape twice while they were in high school. She recognized her pal as the featured female both times.

"I know her like the back of my hand," Johnson, 24, said.

She and her friend started visiting Kelly's Chicago recording studio and meeting up with him at a neighborhood basketball court—and, at one time, his home, where the video was supposedly filmed—when they were about 12, Johnson said. Her pal introduced Kelly to her as her "godfather."

Kelly also used to frequently give her friend between $100 and $500 in cash as gifts, Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the defense argued that the tape could have been doctored as part of a scheme devised by the girl's relatives to extort money from the Grammy winner.

Under cross-examination, Johnson admitted she, too, had received gifts from Kelly from time to time, including $100 for her 13th birthday, and that her friend had never mentioned having a sexual relationship with Kelly.

"Something could have been done to that tape to put [Kelly's] head on a different body, and you wouldn't know it," defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. contended.

Showing the jury a picture of a shirtless Kelly, he asked Johnson how she recognized the singer's body on the tape.

"His head was on it," Johnson replied, prompting laughter from a handful of jurors and giving the defense an opening to pursue its edited-tape argument.

"Something could have been done to put a different head on that body," Adam suggested.

Johnson's father also positively ID'd the alleged victim, as did the girl's aunt and uncle, who said they first saw the tape in 2001, a few weeks before someone anonymously mailed the tape to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The aunt, Delores Gibbon, denied any knowledge of an extortion plot and said she didn't immediately alert authorities when she saw the tape because she was concerned about doing what was best for her niece.

Originally published May 22, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. PT

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