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R. Kelly defense team rests case — Star, alleged victim won’t take the stand

R. Kelly arrives at court in June 2008. | Sun-Times file

After just two days and 12 witnesses, the defense rested Monday in the R. Kelly child pornography case.

But the trial continues today, with prosecutors planning to bring back their video expert to challenge Kelly’s “mole defense.”

The decision by Kelly’s defense team means the jury won’t hear from the singer — or from the woman who prosecutors say appears on the sex videotape at the heart of the case. Now 23, she was 13 to 16 when Kelly recorded them having sex, prosecutors contend. She told a grand jury it isn’t her on the tape. She was a possible defense witness.

Not calling her as a witness might backfire, said Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law who isn’t involved in the case. He thinks it might cause jurors “to speculate she had some inducement not to testify.”

“I think, given [Kelly’s] fame and fortune, it’s more dangerous for him than it is for the prosecution” not to call her as a witness, Kling said.

Prosecutors said Monday they planned to recall to the witness stand Grant Fredericks, who previously testified that the videotape showed a dark spot on the lower back of the man in the video. The spot “corresponds” with a mole on Kelly’s back, Fredericks told jurors.

Last week, Kelly’s team presented its own video expert, Charles Palm, who showed a copy of the tape in which dark spots seemed to appear and then disappear from the man’s back. He dismissed the spots as “video noise.”

Prosecutors want to bring Fredericks back “in regards to whether Dr. Palm could see the mole,” said assistant state’s attorney Shauna Boliker.

Prosecutors also plan to put on testimony today from Robert Wolf, an Atlanta prosecutor who’s expected to tell jurors that the fiance of Lisa Van Allen — who testified she took part in a threesome with Kelly and the then-underage girl — was not offered a deal in exchange for Van Allen’s help in the Kelly prosecution. Cross-examining Van Allen last week, defense lawyers pointed out that her fiance, Yul Brown, was arrested on gun and drug charges right before the couple contacted Cook County prosecutors about the Kelly case. Brown got probation.

The defense objected to Wolf testifying and to Fredericks coming back and asked Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan not to let jurors have the videotape while deliberating.