Defense begins presenting its case

The defense began presenting its case in the R Kelly child pornography trial today in Chicago, and called three witnesses who say the alleged victim is not the girl on the tape.

Shonna Edwards, 27, is a relative of the alleged girl in the tape, who was said to be 13 or 14 at the time it was filmed.

Edwards, who was in a music group with her relative in the 1990s told defense lawyer that the girl in the tape is “definitely” not her relative.

She did say she hung out at Kelly’s recording studio as a teenager, and said of the man in the tape “From what I know of him, that does not appear to be him.”

When shown a photo of the alleged victim next to a frame from the sex video, Edwards, another relative called Leroy Edwards, and one other witness said that it was not the same girl. Leroy Edwards said he did not recognise the girl in the tape.

Meanwhile, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Jim DeRogatis will not have to testify in the trial after all, despite Judge Vincent Gaughan threatening to issue a warrant for him.

DeRogatis, who broke the story about the sex tape at the center of the case in 2002 and gave the police the tape he was sent, is protected against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and the Judge conceded he did not have to testify.

–By our New York staff.

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