Singer R Kelly has told the judge in his child pornography trial that he does not plan to give evidence.
After Judge Vincent Gaughan told Kelly he had a right to not take the stand, the R&B singer leaned forward at the defence table with his hands folded and, speaking for the first time at the Chicago trial, responded: “I decided not to testify.”
The jury was not in the room at the time.
Kelly, aged 41, denies charges that he videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl. Both Kelly and the alleged victim, now 23, have denied being on the tape.
Yesterday the judge ruled that jurors could view the sex tape once they began deliberating.
Kelly’s lawyers had asked the judge to bar jurors from reviewing the graphic video, saying they were worried jurors would overemphasise one piece of evidence. But prosecutors argued the tape was the primary subject of the trial and could not be kept from jurors.
Prosecutor Shauna Boliker said the tape was “the actual nucleus of the case ... the evidence centres around this exhibit”.
Judge Gaughn agreed, but added that he would instruct the jurors before they began deliberating that they should not put too much emphasis on the tape alone.
A prosecution witness also took the stand for a second time to rebut defence claims about the tape. The defence and prosecution have rested their cases but video expert Grant Fredericks’ testimony is part of the prosecution’s right of rebuttal of arguments made by the defence.
A version of the video that the defence used in presenting their case was misleading because it was such low quality, Mr Fredericks told jurors.
The defence argued that in its version of the tape there was no mole on the back of the man who appeared, proving the man was not Kelly, who has such a mole.
Mr Fredericks says higher quality versions of the tape clearly show a mole on the man’s back.
The defence and prosecutors also sparred in court yesterday about who made certain copies of the tape and whether that may have undermined the defence’s case.
Closing arguments are likely to be delivered tomorrow.