*After six years of delay after delay, the R. Kelly child pornography trial is finally set to begin today in Chicago. The 41-year-old singer is accused of having sex with a 13 or 14-year-old girl.
Contributing to the delays were more than 30 pretrial motions, the multiple fractures suffered by Judge Vincent Gaughan in a fall from a ladder at home and Kelly’s emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.
Prosecutors say they will build their case around a 15 minute video that purportedly shows Kelly and the girl having sex.
"The prosecution has a case, they just have to prove the person on the tape is a child," said Leonard Cavise, DePaul University law professor to Chicago's WLS-TV. "Now when the person who is alleged to be on the tape says, 'I'm not on the tape,' they have a pretty high mountain to climb."
Unfortunately, that's exactly the mountain prosecutors have staring at them because the alleged victim, now in her 20s, and her parents, plan to testify for ... R. Kelly.
Specifically, the prosecution will have to undermine the testimony of the girl by proving she's a liar.
"I think what the prosecution is going to do is bring in lots of people to say that it is her and she (was) 14," Cavise said.
Normally child porn cases come to trial rather quickly. But in this instance, since Kelly was originally charged in 2002, and as outlined above, there has been a multitude events that caused the ultimate delay in the trial starting until today. However, it could be delayed even further because of one last defense motion. But the judge is expected to overrule it.
Legal experts say that the longer it takes for a case to come to trail, the more difficult it is for the prosecution to win. In this instance, the alleged victim is not only going to testify for the defense, but is no longer a child. As such it will be hard for a jury to see her as one since she's now approximately 23 years-old. Also, over time, witness memory fades.
"There is an old saying in the legal trade that a defense case is like fine wine it gets better with age. In this case, it is absolutely true," Cavise added.