R. Kelly trial may begin Friday

May 8, 2008 5:36:42 PM PDT
Jury selection will begin in the R. Kelly trial, nearly six years after child pornography charges were first filed against the singer.It's been a long legal road full of delay after delay.

Six years after he was arrested, R. Kelly is expected to finally get his day in court while his hairstyles have changed, the charges against the 41-year-old Grammy Award winner remain the same. The singer is accused of child pornography. It all stems from a 15-minute videotape that prosecutors say shows Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13 or 14.

"The prosecution has a case, they just have to prove the person on the tape is a child, Now when the person who is alleged to be on the tape says, 'I'm not on the tape,' they have a pretty high mountain to climb," said Leonard Cavise, DePaul University law professor.

And that is exactly the challenge prosecutors face. The alleged victim, now in her 20s, and her parents plan to testify for r. Kelly...

Cavise says the state will have to prove its case by convincing the jury the girl is a liar and by presenting several convincing witnesses.

"I think what the prosecution is going to do is bring in lots of people to say that it is her and she is 14," Cavise said.

The R&B superstar was charged in 2002. The six-year delay is unheard of in child porn cases. Medical problems, a pregnancy and more than 30 pretrial motions contributed to the delays. While defendants have a right to a fair and speedy trial, in this case, legal experts says the long delay benefits R. Kelly..

"There is an old saying in the legal trade that a defense case is like fine wine it gets better with age. In this case, it is absolutely true,"said Cavise.

Len Cavise says it's going to be difficult for a jury to see the alleged victim, now 23 years old, as a child. In addition, over time, witness memories fade.

Jury selection is expected to begin Friday. But before it does, the judge is going to take up one more defense motion to delay the trial. Based on a court proceeding Thursday, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan implied the trial will begin Friday.

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