(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.)
Week two started off with a bang for the prosecution as Lindsey Perryman, a former assistant to R. Kelly, testified that the alleged victim once showed up at Kelly’s studio with a “pillow and overnight bag.” (What? He didn’t have a spare pillow?) According to Perryman, this was not an isolated incident, but the alleged victim would come by the studio a couple of time’s a week. On one occasion, Perryman even claims to have driven the girl to Kelly’s home. Perryman identified both the alleged victim and Kelly as the ones in the tape. This eye witness is particularly damaging to the defense because she has no apparent ax to grind with Kelly.
+1 for the prosecution.
Late Friday, sparks flew in the courtroom as Stephanie “Sparkles” Edwards took the stand. A former protege of Kelly, Edwards testified that she introduced the alleged victim (her niece) to Kelly. She also testified that she saw the sex tape in 2001 and recognized her niece, and she described how the existence of the tape divided her family, which, in a poor choice of words, she described as being “as thick as thieves.” In cross examination, defense attorney Ed Genson tried to piece together his conspiracy theory by accusing Edwards of having a vendetta against Kelly because of a music deal gone wrong. Genson even accused her of conspiring against Kelly with his former manager, Barry Hankerson. Edwards did not miss a beat in denying these allegations: “Of Course not,” she said. Edwards claimed that there is no bad blood between she and Kelly, and even refered to him as “my homeboy.” If the defense expects the jury to buy their conspiracy theory, they better have more cards than they’ve played so far. The defense will need more than innuendos to convince the jury that the tape is part of an elaborate scheme to exact revenge against Kelly or extort him for money. Sparkles stood up against cross-examination and I don’t think the defense delivered as promised.
-1 for the defense.
In the latest twist to the trial, the defense fought back by claiming that the alleged victim wore braces at the time the prosecution claims the tape was made. The defense showed the jury a photo of the alleged victim with braces in her mouth during the cross-examination of Tjada Burnett, yet another acquaintance of the alleged victim who identified her as the girl in the tape. When pressed about the braces, Burnett acknowledged that the alleged victim wore braces in the late 1990s, but could not provide a useful time frame. It does not appear that the defense has proven that the alleged victim had braces at the time the prosecution contends the tape was made, but the alleged victim’s orthodontic records should be available to provide definite evidence in this regard. Until the defense shows more of their hand on the braces front, no points. — Mark Muro, Attorney
p.s. Remember to send your shirtless pics of R. Kelly to the VH1 Blog.