Jury shown 'under age' R Kelly sex video

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The Independent US

Prosecutors played the sex tape at the centre of R Kelly's child pornography trial in open court, just hours after opening statements in which they accused the R&B singer of choreographing and starring in a video featuring "vile, disturbing and disgusting sex acts" with an underage girl.

The jurors, who took feverish notes during opening statements in Chicago, sat motionless while the video played.

A grim, intent Kelly watched the whole video on a small monitor placed on the defence table, only occasionally averting his eyes. At times, the 41-year-old rocked in his chair or rested his chin in his hand.

The roughly 27-minute homemade video shows a man having sex with a young female, who is naked for most of the recording - except for a necklace with a cross dangling from it.

Prosecutors say the man in the video is Kelly, and that the female is a girl who was as young as 13 years old when the tape was made between January 1, 1998, and November 1, 2000.

The singer, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 15 years if convicted.

During opening statements in the long-delayed trial, Cook County prosecutor Shauna Boliker warned jurors they would have to watch shocking video and that "the case will unfold before you frame by disgusting frame".

"You will see the sex acts he commands her to do," said Ms Boliker, who referred to Kelly by his birth name of Robert Kelly.

"Acts you have never seen before. Vile, disturbing and disgusting sex acts, actions that were choreographed, produced and starred in by Robert Kelly."

Kelly often looked strained, even worried during opening statements, his mouth drawn tight as he hunched forward on a leather-backed chair - frequently appearing to study jurors' faces.

Minutes after Ms Boliker concluded, defence attorney Sam Adam Jr paced the room and often raised his voice in his opening statements, telling jurors with emphasis that Kelly was not the man on the tape.

He also called the video's origins into question and said the female who authorities allege is depicted on the tape is not that person at all.

"You know what they have to connect Mr Kelly to this tape?" he asked the jurors, pausing. "Nothing."

The 23-year-old woman prosecutors say was a minor at the time of the taping also denies that she's the person on the video.

The trial has been delayed repeatedly since the tape was mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002. The newspaper turned it over to authorities, and Kelly was indicted later that year.