A judge ruled Thursday that digital photographs allegedly showing R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl were illegally obtained by Florida detectives and therefore cannot be used to try him on child-pornography charges in that state, The Associated Press reports.
Kelly, 37, currently faces 12 counts of child pornography in Florida, where deputies seized a digital camera — wrapped in a towel in a duffel bag — during a June 2002 drug raid of his Davenport home (see "R. Kelly Arrested On Child Porn Charges Again"). If prosecutors do not appeal Thursday's (March 11) ruling, they would have to drop all charges against Kelly in Florida.
Although a judge did grant a warrant to the Polk County sheriff's detectives for the original search, Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney's new ruling supports the assertion by Kelly's lawyers that there was not enough evidence to justify the search in the first place, according to the AP.
Kelly was not present for the ruling, but his Chicago-based lawyer, Ed Genson, told the AP that Kelly was "very pleased" with the news.
This does not affect the 14 counts of child pornography Kelly faces in Chicago (see "Seven Of R. Kelly's 21 Counts Of Child Pornography Tossed"), where he was indicted in June 2002 on charges related to the videotape allegedly showing him engaged in sex acts with an underage girl.
For full coverage of the R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Reports.