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
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