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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June 2008, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
How R Kelly was cleared over sex tape
After a month-long trial, R Kelly has been cleared of child pornography charges. Newsbeat's US reporter Iain Mackenzie was in court from beginning to end. Here are his thoughts on how the case was won and lost.

R Kelly
R Kelly leaves court in Chicago

This trial was all about simplicity vs complexity.

State prosecutors made a straightforward case.

They claimed R&B star R Kelly had filmed himself having sex with an underage girl.

The tape went public. Friends and family said they recognised both the youngster and the singer.

They came to court and told the jury what they knew.

The conclusion, according to the prosecution, was the Grammy award-winning superstar is a paedophile and child pornographer.

But R Kelly's lawyers had a different view of events.

In short, this rich, high profile artist had become the target of a conspiracy.

Disgruntled former employees, ex-friends, mystery men.

The cast of characters kept growing.

Birthmark claims

Sparkle, his former singing protégé, Barry Hankerson, his ex-manager, Lisa Van Allen, who claimed to have had threesomes with R Kelly and the underage girl, Yul Brown, Van Allen's fiance.

Then there was Bennie Edwards Sr, the relative who was arrested with crack under his hat.

R Kelly's lawyers had them all, working together to create a fake video.

Second Corinthians 11, verse 14 and Satan shall come disguised as an angel of light
Sam Adam Jr
R Kelly's defence lawyer
How did they do that? With "Hollywood special FX" we were told. Scraps and out-takes from R Kelly music videos were used to morph his face onto someone else's body.

Fortunately, the conspirators made a mistake. They forgot one little detail. A birthmark on R Kelly's back which the defence claimed was not visible in the video.

For days, forensic video experts on both sides argued about the missing mole. Was it there? Wasn't it there?

They even argued about who had the superior equipment.

Then there was the mullet. A hairstyle said to have been worn by the victim when she was 13 or 14.

Women's fashion

Every witness who took the stand to identify her was quizzed on their knowledge of women's fashion as they were asked, "What's the difference between a bob and a mullet? Is the parting on the left, or the centre?"

The contrast between the prosecution and defence was again clear when the time came for closing arguments.

The state played it straight, showing the sex tape on a giant projection TV while reading out a list of the offences as they appeared on screen.

This was "concrete evidence", they said.

R Kelly
R Kelly's lawyers argued that he was the target of a conspiracy
For the defence, it was all about performance. Sam Adam Jr strode around the courtroom, executed dramatic turns, shouted, whispered.

He even quoted from the bible, twice.

"Second Corinthians 11, verse 14. And Satan shall come disguised as an angel of light."

His wrath in that instance was directed at Lisa Van Allen.

He also spoke of his pride at working with R Kelly's lawyer Sam Adam Sr and head lawyer Ed Genson, "My two dads".

Reasonable doubt

And then there was his plea to the jury not to find R Kelly guilty because that would mean calling the girl "a whore, 14 times".

In the end, R Kelly's acquittal probably had little to do with the more elaborate elements of the defence.

Speaking to the media afterwards, several jury members said they just couldn't be sure that the young girl was who the prosecution claimed.

Some thought that the man in the film was R Kelly, but without a victim, pointing their finger across the courtroom, there was that crucial element of "reasonable doubt".

And so the verdict came back, R Kelly cried, muttered, "Thank you Jesus", and with that, it was over.

As a bizarre footnote, R Kelly may be returning to Cook County Courthouse again soon. He is being sued by a man called Uncle Henry Love, who claims the singer stole his dance moves.

You couldn't make it up.



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