A total of 34 prosecution and defense witnesses have testified in R. Kelly’s child pornography trial. As the case comes to a close, someone won’t be taking the stand: The man on trial himself.
Closing arguments were set to begin Thursday without jurors having heard from the R&B singer, who on Tuesday told the judge he doesn’t plan to testify.
Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl. Both Kelly and the alleged victim, now 23, have denied being on the tape. The alleged victim also never testified.
Prosecutors claim she was as young as 13 when the tape was made. Now 23, the woman has been identified at the trial, but The Associated Press does not name suspected victims of child pornography in most cases. She has not spoken publicly about the case.
Four family members have testified for the prosecution that she is the person on the tape; three have testified for the defense that she’s not.
The judge has ruled that jurors can view the sex tape once they begin deliberating. They already got a look at it within hours of opening statements, and prosecutors entered the VHS tape into the record as “People’s Exhibit No. 1.”
Over two days, Kelly’s lawyers called 12 witnesses. One was a forensics expert who testified there didn’t appear to be a mole on the back of the man in the sex tape. Defense attorneys claim Kelly has a mole on his back, so the man on the tape can’t be him. But the prosecution challenged that claim.
After attorneys make their final cases Thursday, the nine-man, four-woman jury could begin deliberating later in the day.
Kelly won a Grammy in 1997 for “I Believe I Can Fly,” and is known for such raunchy songs as “Bump N’ Grind,” “Ignition,” and for “Trapped in the Closet,” a multipart saga about the sexual secrets of a lively and ever-expanding cast of characters.