Opening Statements

'What You Talkin' About, Adam?'

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Who do you call when you’re R&B superstar R. Kelly and you’re accused of making child pornography? Well, Ralph Kramden, apparently. And Hannah Montana. And Gary Coleman.

Chicago lawyer Sam Adam Jr., who this summer successfully defended Kelly against charges that he filmed himself having sex with a minor, peppered his closing arguments with as many cultural references as he could muster. Adam told MTV that he used those references to connect with as many different jurors as he could.

Apparently, the strategy worked. Here are some of the names he dropped, and how he used them.

1) Dave Chappelle: He invoked a skit from Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show, which draws on the expression “I keep it real”—showing the bad things that happen when you do.

“Do you know how many people came in here and testified that they confronted him? … Zero. … Let’s be real. This is not Dave Chappelle, ‘When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.’ Let’s be real about this.”

2) Hannah Montana: Adam used the alter ego of Disney recording star Miley Cyrus, who stars in the hit television show Hannah Montana, to illustrate his questions about claims that the girl involved had kept secret her alleged romantic relationship with Kelly.

“You couldn’t keep a 13-year-old girl’s mouth quiet about Hannah Montana tickets, yet at the same time she’s sleeping with a Grammy Award-winning superstar?”

3) Janet Jackson: To question the credibility of a prosecution witness who testified to having had group sex with Kelly and the girl, Adam relied on the title of a 1986 Janet Jackson hit.

“[The witness] spent her whole life a street woman.

To street people, the truth means nothing. They take the Janet Jackson approach to everything—’What Have You Done for Me Lately?’ The truth has nothing to do with it.”

4) The Honeymooners: In another challenge to a pros­ecution witness’ story, he quoted TV’s most famous bus driver from The Honeymooners.

“She’s making it up. For what? Because as Ralph Kramden said, ‘It’s the old squeeze play.’ ”

5) Gary Coleman: Challenging the quality of the homemade vid­eo itself, he brings home a conspiracy theory using the diminutive figure from the comedy Diff’rent Strokes.

“You get a tape that’s of hor­rible quality. You get a couple of people on there that [have] to look something like [R. Kelly]. You can’t have Gary Coleman on there, but it’s got to look something like Robert, and then you hit him up for money.”

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