R. Kelly told the judge in his child pornography trial Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to testify.
After Judge Vincent Gaughan told Kelly he had a right to not take the stand, the R&B singer leaned forward at the defense table with his hands folded and, speaking for the first time at the trial, responded: “I decided not to testify.”
The jury wasn’t in the room at the time.
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.
‘Nucleus of the case’
Also Tuesday, the judge ruled that jurors can view the sex tape once they begin deliberating.
Kelly’s lawyers had asked the judge to bar jurors from reviewing the graphic video, saying they worried jurors would overemphasize one piece of evidence. But prosecutors argued the tape is the primary subject of the trial and couldn’t be kept from jurors.
“People’s Exhibit No. 1 is the actual nucleus of the case ... the evidence centers around this exhibit,” said prosecutor Shauna Boliker.
Gaughn agreed, but added that he would instruct the jurors before they begin deliberating that they shouldn’t put too much emphasis on the tape alone.
Rebutting defense claims
A prosecution witness also took the stand for a second time to rebut defense claims about the tape. The defense and prosecution both have rested their cases but video expert Grant Fredericks’ testimony is part of the prosecution’s right of rebuttal.
A version of the video that the defense used in presenting their case was misleading because it was such low quality, Fredericks told jurors.
The defense argued that in their version of the tape there is no mole on the back of the man who appeared, proving the man is not Kelly, who has such a mole.
But Fredericks says higher quality versions of the tape clearly show a mole on the man’s back.
The defense and prosecutors also sparred in court Tuesday about who made certain copies of the tape and whether that may have undermined the defense’s case.
Closing arguments are likely to be delivered Thursday.