R Kelly was man in sex video, court hears

A former employee of R Kelly told a Chicago court that she was "110% sure" the Grammy-winning R n'B singer appeared with an underage girl on a sex video at the centre of his child pornography trial.

Lindsey Perryman, who said she worked as a record producer and personal assistant to the Grammy-winning singer and his family off and on from 2000-2007, told jurors that she first saw the tape in December 2007 after being approached by prosecutors.

At that time, she said, she was not sure it was Kelly on the video and did not want to believe it because he was a great boss and "very, very good to me".

"I was in shock and I wanted to be 110% sure," so she looked at an album cover with Kelly on it before viewing the video a second time, Ms Perryman said. She said she was then sure it was Kelly and also identified the alleged victim, who had visited Kelly's studio.

Kelly, 41, is charged with 14 counts of child pornography for allegedly videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He denies the charges.

Kelly's lawyers have said he was not on the tape, even noting that the singer has a mole on his back and the man on the tape did not. The alleged victim, now 23, has denied she is on the tape.

Two other witnesses told the court that the female participant on the graphic 27-minute video was the same person prosecutors say was as young as 13 at the time.

Prosecutors claim the tape was made between January 1 1998 and November 1 2000, and that the young girl in the tape was born in September 1984.

Tjada Burnett, a family friend of the alleged victim, said she recognised the female participant by her "cheeks, her nose, her facial structure", and said she could have been about 12 or 13 at the time the tape was made.

Under cross-examination, a defence lawyer asked Ms Burnett whether the alleged victim wore braces and showed the jury a photo in which she appeared to be wearing braces.

Ms Burnett said the alleged victim had braces some time between 1997 and 1999, and acknowledged she would have had the braces after the tape was made.

Kelly's lawyers accused Raven Gengler of lying to help the prosecution's case when she said she was certain the girl on the video was her childhood friend.

Gengler, 22, said she first saw the video after downloading it several years ago from an internet file-sharing site in 2001, after the tape had become the talk of her neighbourhood.

Within hours of their opening statements last week, prosecutors entered the VHS tape into the record as "People's Exhibit No 1" and played it in court. Several witnesses, including a relative of the alleged victim, testified that they recognised her in the video.

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