R. Kelly

AP Photo/Jerry Lai

Now playing in a Chicago courtroom...People's Exhibit 1. And it may be the worst video of R. Kelly's career.

Prosecutors kicked off their opening arguments in Kelly's kiddie-porn trial by screening the 26-minute tape responsible for the whole mess, as enrapt jurors stared at a tiny monitor showing what authorities claim is the megaselling R&B star engaged in sex acts with a minor.

The grainy tape shows a man handing the female money. Throughout the session he gives her commands and she calls him "Daddy" to a soundtrack that includes the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys from a nearby radio. His face is never clearly visible.

Before showing the footage, which has been widely disseminated online since the tape first surfaced in 2002, lead prosecutor Shauna Boliker told the panel what they should look for.

"You will see the sex acts he commands her to do," she said. "Acts you have never seen before. Vile, disturbing and disgusting sex acts, actions that were choreographed, produced and starred in by Robert Kelly.

"The case will unfold before you frame by disgusting frame," she continued. "There's no feeling in her face. It is clear she is an underage girl."

The 41-year-old "Bump N' Grind" singer has pleaded not guilty to charges he solicited a minor for child pornography, recorded himself engaging in sexual relations with the girl and producing child pornography. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years behind bars.

"A child doesn't choose to be violated and placed on a videotape," the prosecutor insisted, "a videotape that will live on forever—long after this child becomes an adult."

Authorities say the video was recorded sometime between January 1998 and November 2000, when the girl was 12 or 13.

Boliker also said she had no intention of calling the alleged victim, a 23-year-old woman whose identity has been undisclosed. The point was pounced on by Kelly counsel Sam Adam Jr.

Noting that the D.A. doesn't plan to call the alleged victim to the stand, Adam suggested in his opening remarks that the prosecutors don't even have the right person (as the woman herself has stated) and the alleged minor in the video—if she's even underage at all—was "paid with money."

"She is a prostitute," he said.

Adam asserted his client is not the man in the tape, which concludes with the man urinating on the girl. Adam said Kelly has a distinctive mole in the middle of his lower back, while the man in the footage does not.

"Robert Kelly is not on that tape," Adam told jurors. "I stand before you...to tell you [the alleged victim] is not on the tape."

The attorney also cast skepticism on the tape's authenticity, noting it's a "copy of a copy of a copy" and was sent anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times, which turned it over to police.

"It has gone through five or six generations and there are no identifying marks," Adam concluded.

Earlier this morning, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan replaced one juror, a white female, after she voiced concerns that a lengthy trial—proceedings could take more than a month—presented a financial hardship. She was replaced with the first alternate, a white male, keeping the racial balance of the jury intact, with eight whites and four blacks. Three alternates remain.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.