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5 Years, and Still No R. Kelly Child-Porn Trial

Posted May 8, 2007 12:32 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Rhythm and blues singer R. Kelly still hasn't been tried in the child pornography case brought against him five years ago. But time is on his side, experts say.

The delay, although unusual, may well be helping Kelly in more ways than one. For example, he has had six best-selling albums during the last five years, with another new release due at the end of the month, shortly after his latest status hearing in the case. Meanwhile, evidence of the now long-ago crime with which is he charged may be less persuasive to jurors.

"You may have a jury that's going to come in and say, 'So this happened in the 1990s and this is 2007? I'm just not buying it,'" says Michael Helfand, a Chicago lawyer who is not involved in Kelly's case.

Kelly, now 40, maintains his innocence. He was charged in connection with a videotape allegedly made sometime between 1998 and 2000 that purportedly shows Kelly and a young teen in sexual acts. However, his image may have been computer-generated, his lawyers contend, among other defenses. His trial has been repeatedly delayed due in part to unexpected events, such as injuries suffered by the assigned judge when he fell off a ladder at home and surgery on Kelly for appendicitis. The R&B artist could have insisted on a speedy trial, but apparently has not done so, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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