(The VH1 Blog knows very little about the law. So we’ve solicited Mark Muro, a founder of the California law firm Muro & Lampe, Inc., to keep a running tab on which side has the advantage in the R. Kelly child pornography trial. Check back daily for updates.)
Today, the prosecution continued its attempts to unravel the defense claims of mistaken identities. Yet another former friend and classmate of the alleged victim identified her as the girl in the sex tape. Aubrey Hampton, now 23, testified that she not only recognized the alleged victim’s face, but also her mannerisms, including “the way she licked her bottom lip.” She also fingered the man in the tape as R. Kelly and testified that she met him through the alleged victim.
But a strategy for undermining the prosecution’s witnesses is taking shape as the defense attempts to call into question the very authenticity of the tape itself. If successful, all testimony identifying Kelly and the alleged victim would become meaningless. Previews of this conspiracy theory surfaced during cross examination. The defense apparently contends that one of the alleged victim’s relatives is Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards and that she released the tape (and possibly doctored it!) as part of a personal vendetta against Kelly over a music biz deal gone wrong.
The parade of witnesses with positive identifications may have a strong impact on the jury and score the prosecution more points. However, the defense will likely pose multiple questions in an attempt to plant the seed of reasonable doubt despite that testimony. What was the friend’s age at the time? How much time has passed between this testimony and the time that the friend watched the tape? How reliable is their testimony in light of the poor quality of the tape? What about the lack of any admission by the alleged victim to her friends of any inappropriate conduct with “the Pied Piper”? But most importantly, are the witnesses who believed that they were watching their former friend in a sex tape really just victims themselves of a personal vendetta? We’ll see as the evidence unfolds. Until then, I believe the defense is climbing out of the hole, and has closed the gap on its deficit from four points to one. — Mark Muro, Attorney
Defense = +1
Prosecution = +2
Keep up with the trial at the Chicago Sun-Times’ blog, The Kelly Chronicles.