The R. Kelly trial: How the R&B superstar got off.

The R. Kelly trial: How the R&B superstar got off.

The R. Kelly trial: How the R&B superstar got off.

Arts, entertainment, and more.
June 13 2008 7:21 PM

Long Live the Little Man Defense!

How R. Kelly got off.

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Despite the holes in the prosecution's case, Kelly's legal braintrust took no chances. In his closing argument, the always-exuberant Sam Adam Jr. debuted three new defense theories:

The Hannah Montana theory: Adam Jr. reminded the jurors that all of the people who identified the girl in the tape—save threesome-haver Lisa Van Allen—said they had no idea that Kelly and the alleged victim, his goddaughter, had any kind of sexual relationship. Adam Jr. found it hard to believe that this cone of silence could have existed. "You couldn't keep a 13-year-old girl's mouth quiet about having Hannah Montana tickets," he said.


The there-is-no-Santa theory: Smartly neglecting to mention media reports that Kelly is functionally illiterate, Adam Jr. noted that the singer isn't dumb enough to tote around a satchel of homemade pornography, as alleged by Van Allen. Or, if you prefer, he does not "carry around a bag full of porno tapes like he was a porno Santa Claus."

The I'm Gonna Git You Sucka theory: If the alleged victim was really on the tape, Adam Jr. argued, her relatives would have "beat the crap out of [Kelly]." Since nobody beat the crap out of Kelly, it couldn't have been her on the tape. QED.

While I have a hard time believing that any of these new hypotheses could have changed anyone's mind, it is possible that the defense team finally succeeded in driving the jurors completely insane. Though deliberations lasted for less than a full day, this was enough time for one member of the jury to go bananas on a waiter who failed to bring his hamburger with sufficient haste. This morning, another juror wrote Judge Vincent Gaughan a letter saying, "How can I be removed and go home? I really need to." A few hours later, that became a moot point.

Was R. Kelly acquitted because he's a celebrity? Lisa Van Allen thinks so. It's worth remembering, though, that most of the potential jurors indicated during the voir dire process that they didn't know who R. Kelly was, or at the very least had no idea that he was a global superstar. Perhaps the jurors absorbed Kelly's star power through osmosis and decided it was too heavy a burden to send away the man behind "I Like the Crotch on You." While it's not clear that justice has been served in this case, it seems obvious that the trial has generated more than enough fodder for Kelly's musical career. Coming in 2009: Trapped in the Courtroom.