May 20th, 2008
07:31 PM ET

R. Kelly Sex Tape in Court

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/20/art.rkelly.jpg]
Susan Roesgen
CNN Correspondent

So this was it.

The 25-minute sex tape that could send R&B superstar R. Kelly to prison for fifteen years on child pornography charges.

Some reporters said they'd seen parts of it – or heard about it – but this was it.

On the opening day of Kelly's trial, the judge ordered the lights lowered and the blinds drawn in the courtroom. What is the jury thinking? Can't see them up in the front, in the dark. What's R. Kelly thinking? He seems to be staring at the defense table, not watching.

What are reporters thinking? I don't know about the rest of them, but I know what I'm thinking. I'm thinking I'm a paid voyeur. This tape is so hot that even courtroom sketch artists were warned that if they drew any depiction of what's on it, they could be charged with child pornography themselves. And I'm going to watch every bit of it, so I can see what this trial is all about. Oh boy. Here we go.

The man in the video starts with his clothes on, checking the position of the video camera by sitting in the spot where he wants the tape to be focused. He walks out of frame, adjusts something on the camera, and in the next scene, we see him giving money to a girl who says, softly, looking up at him, "thank you." That is the last g-rated moment on the tape. What follows is more Penthouse than Playboy.

This isn't a sex tape. It's a how-to tape. The man gives directions, and the girl complies. She looks bored and rarely speaks, except when the man tells her to call him "Daddy."

How old is she? The R.Kelly defense says she's a "paid, professional prostitute." The prosecution says she's a child victim. And what about the man – is it R. Kelly? Unlike the man in court, the man on the tape doesn't have cornrows, or a goatee, or a mustache – and he's not wearing a dark navy suit.

The prosecution says the tape was "choreagraphed, produced, and starring Robert Kelly" – his own personal child pornography. But the defense says it's not him – and that even the FBI, "the people chasing Bin Laden... cannot identify Mr. Kelly on the tape."

And then it's over, love-making reduced to banal bumping and grinding, mercifully over. But at the end, the man seems to wipe the girl off with a towel, almost tenderly.

Before the tape was played, the defense had shown the jury a police photograph of R. Kelly standing in his boxer shorts, with a mole on the middle of his back. The lead defense attorney told the jury to look for that mole on the back of the man in the video – he says it won't be there, because the man isn't Kelly.

I made a mental note to watch for that mole, but after a few minutes I forgot all about it. But I noticed that the girl was wearing nothing except a shiny necklace with a crucifix, and I wrote that down instead.

Filed under: Susan Roesgen
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Larry

    I actually like his music.

    May 20, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Cecil Jones

    They kept the truth in the closet for almost 6 years, but if it comes out and he's guilty he's toast.

    May 20, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  3. Kent, Illinois

    If the FBI cannot identify the man as Kelly he will go free. Innocent until proven guilty.

    May 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm |
  4. virginia

    enslave black people created R&B, Mary the music is not dirty R kelly wrote music for many white singer including Celine Dion. I know what you mean to say but i say the young girls in to go to jail to and then they would not give it up to these men for money.

    May 20, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  5. Ruth

    This story is quite obscure. Was it or wasn't it? Interest in the tape and the child being a prostitute wearing a necklace, seems to be more of a focus,rather than the act of it being wrong itself. Sometimes I wonder whether people are a bit de-sensitised to these situations?

    May 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  6. Mary

    Who is this guy??? Never heart of this guy. But of course, I don't listened to the dirty music of R&B.

    The music of some of these people is filthy but it keeps on being played on radio, TV and personnal players. Please stop the destruction of our kids through these people who become rich.

    May 20, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  7. Michael, NC

    R Kelly should be thrown in prison even if it IS a girl of age. That's just demoralizing and disgusting.
    He's a sketchy character, and now theres footage to back it up. I just hope they can prove its him, but I really wish the girl is over the age of consent.
    Either way, teach a lesson here, don't let him loose to keep doing this indecent garbage.

    May 20, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  8. Cindy

    R. Kelly needs to be thrown in prison if this girl is under age. No matter if he paid her for sex or not. Just because he is a star doesn't mean that he is above the law!

    And of course they are going to say that it is not him! He will say what ever he has to to get off...no pun intended! LOL

    He got caught now he has to pay! If you can't do the time then don't do the crime I say!

    May 20, 2008 at 8:05 pm |
  9. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    That's just sick. And whoever did it should be punished to the fullest extent the law will allow and his fellow inmates can get away with. No child should ever have to be exposed to that for any reason. No jury in its right mind should let this perv go free.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm |
  10. Annie Kate


    A pornography tape with a religious necklace on the girl. That's ironic. Why would an R&B superstar need to do something like this? Its amazing what people will risk (jail and derailment of his career) for their sexual fetishes. As my daughter says "YUCK!".

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 20, 2008 at 7:51 pm |
  11. lamont smith

    Why do John King only think there are only white working americans.....are there any black, asian, hispanic, along with other racess that work every day......

    Or maybe he remember when blacks were beaten if they read a book...or America was build off the backs of black slaves.......what was white americans then....

    He make it a point to only use the word working with white america...what is the rest of us doing?...

    .just standing around.....How many times have the word working been attached to black Americans....

    How many bl;acks work at cnn,...when I go to work I see all types of races.....

    For the record....I don't give blacks any lead way in this area as well...this message apply to everyone......I tell my community, job, church, and every other race....not to judge.......

    So black.....america and every other race take heed to this message as well.....I know everything in not going to be fair but in some areas....we need to hear working classes of people in every races.......

    May 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  12. Jackson

    well it is a classic case of he said she said and one side says shes just a child but the other side says she is not a child but a pro who does that type of work for money to put it nicely . how does any one know the age of the women or girl in the video? or not

    May 20, 2008 at 7:39 pm |