R. Kelly, Jim DeRogatis

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, Frank Mullen/WireImage.com

So much for the tale of the tape.

The reporter who first received the video that launched the R. Kelly kiddie-porn case won't be testifying after all.

A Chicago judge ruled today that Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis will not have to explain how he received the tape—purportedly showing the R&B star engaged in sex acts with a minor—or whether he altered or copied the video before turning it over to authorities.

DeRogatis was subpoenaed yesterday and only showed up today after some strong arm-twisting by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Vincent Gaughan.

With jurors out of the room, the journalist took the stand for 10 minutes. But as expected, DeRogatis declined to answer questions from either side, citing an Illinois law governing "reporter's privilege" and his First and Fifth Amendment rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Per the Chicago Tribune, DeRogatis repeatedly read a statement off a cue card in response to more than a dozen defense queries, among them whether he copied the tape, which could have opened him up to criminal charges.

"I respectfully decline to answer that question on the advice of counsel on the grounds that to do so would contravene the reporter privilege, the special witness doctrine and my rights under the Illinois Constitution as well as the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution."

The judge, who yesterday had threatened to issue an arrest warrant for DeRogatis for ignoring the order to appear, decided to let DeRogatis off the hook, noting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

However, Gaughan did give DeRogatis until the end of the day to surrender his notes from an interview with defense witness Stephanie "Sparkle" Edwards. The judge, who wants to review the notes before deciding whether to admit them into evidence, dismissed arguments by the Sun-Times lawyer that the Fifth Amendment covered such material.

Kelly's legal team has been trying to portray DeRogatis as someone who disliked Kelly and may have manipulated the tape before giving it to police.

"Did you author stories in the Sun-Times and GQ that were critical of Mr. Kelly?" defense attorney Marc Martin asked during the morning grilling. "People's Exhibit No. 1, the tape, you recognize it? Did you get it to the cops on the same day you got it? Did you perform changes or alterations to the tape?"

After Gaughan ruled that DeRogatis would not have to testify, Kelly's camp called its first round of witnesses.

Among those testifying were several relatives of the alleged victim, who bolster defense claims that she is not the underage girl on the tape whom state attorneys say engaged in a threesome with Kelly and another woman.

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