Defense rests after two days of testimony in R. Kelly child porn

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The defense in the R. Kelly child pornography trial surprisingly wrapped up its case Monday, after two days of testimony, ending speculation that the alleged victim, or her parents, would take the stand.

After court proceedings got underway, 40 minutes after the usual start time, defense attorney Ed Genson read two stipulations to the jury before stating the defense rested its case. Genson said that if personal injury attorney William “Buddy” Myers testified, he would say that the alleged victim’s relatives contacted him about representation, and that he was never in possession of the video. Myers’ testimony would impeach Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, the alleged victim’s aunt. Edwards testified that Myers contacted her in December 2001, claimed he had the tape and sent an associate with the tape to her home for review. The court reporter who transcribed testimony from Bennie Edwards Sr. during a special grand jury, would stipulate that Edwards Sr. said he saw the video in February 2002, a direct contradiction to his testimony that he saw the tape for the first time on the day he testified for the prosecution. He is the uncle of the alleged victim. Robert S. Kelly was indicted in 2002 on 14-counts of child pornography for allegedly filming himself and a girl believed to be in her early teens between 1998 and 2000. The alleged victim, who is now an adult, testified at a special grand jury that she is not the female in the video. Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 15 years behind bars if convicted. The defense stated during the jury selection process that they would need about a week to put on their case, if that. In opening statements, defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. said that Kelly, an Olympia Fields resident, is not the man in the video, and implied the video was manipulated to depict their client as the man in the film. The crux of their case hinges on Kelly’s distinctive mole on his lower back, a mole that he has had since childhood. The man in the video has no mole on his back, the defense said. Kelly’s team presented witnesses, including a video expert, who countered the prosecution’s expert. The prosecution’s forensic video expert showed the jury a dark spot on the man in the video’s lower. The defense put on the stand a famed private investigator who secretly recorded Lisa Van Allen and her fiancĪ˜ Yul Brown allegedly trying to bribe the R&B superstar. They also brought forth a slew of the alleged victim’s relatives who said it is mistaken identity. While the defense has rested, the jury will hear testimony Tuesday from two rebuttal witnesses for the prosecution: a forensic video expert who previously testified and an Atlanta assistant district attorney. Grant Fredericks, the expert who analyzed the film during a second viewing for the jury, will be called by prosecutors to rebut the testimony of Charles Palm, the defense’s video expert. Fredericks paused the frames that showed the man’s bare back and found a dark spot, resembling a mole, on the man’s lower back in the tape. Palm analyzed the video and froze the same frames of the bare back sequence and found no mole, only technical flaws that appeared in several locations, in different frames, on the man’s back. The jury will also hear from Fulton County (Ga.) Assistant District Attorney Robert Wolf. He is expected to refute allegations that Brown was given a deal in exchange for Van Allen’s testimony. Van Allen, 27, who met Kelly while on a video shoot in Georgia about 10 years ago, testified that she had three group sex trysts with the Chicago native and the alleged victim, whom she was told was 16 years old at that time. Cook County prosecutors were contacted in March by Brown, a few weeks after he was charged with having a loaded AK-47 and drugs in the couple’s Atlanta home. He pleaded guilty and received probation, instead of the 22 years in prison he faced, the defense said. “There was no deal. We played absolutely no role in the disposition of Yul Brown’s case,” prosecutor Shauna Boliker told the judge. Closing arguments are expected to begin June 12. Kathy Chaney can be reached via e-mail at kchaney@chicagodefender.com ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright (for image) 2008 Associated Press.

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