Page last updated at 10:19 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 11:19 UK

R Kelly porn trial due to begin

R Kelly
The singer was originally arrested in June 2002

R&B singer R Kelly is due to face child pornography charges in court, nearly six years after first being arrested.

The performer has denied video-taping himself engaging in sex acts with a girl, who prosecutors in Chicago say could have been as young as 13.

The 41-year old faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

But Mr Kelly's lawyers have asked the court to postpone the hearing, arguing the singer cannot have a fair trial due to recent news coverage.

Chicago Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan has not yet ruled on the request, but it is thought he will reject it as the trial has been pending for so long.

Kelly was arrested in February 2002 after the video tape - thought to have been made between 1998 and 2000 - was sent to police by his local paper, the Chicago Sun-Times.

The star was charged four months later with 21 counts relating to child pornography and released on $750,000 (383,000) bail. Seven of the charges have since been dropped.

Complicating the trial for the prosecution is the fact the alleged victim, who is now 23, refuses to admit she is the girl on the tape.

News organisations including the Associated Press argued in court on Thursday for access to sealed court records and transcripts in the case.

The move was opposed by both prosecution and defence lawyers.

Judge Gaughan said he would only rule on the request after the trial began and a jury had been selected so as to not influence them.

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