After making his final appearance with Jay-Z last week on their ill-fated co-headlining tour, R. Kelly made a different sort of appearance on Thursday (November 4) — in court.
In a procedural victory for the R&B singer’s defense team, the Chicago judge presiding over Kelly’s child-pornography case granted the defense’s request to have a hearing to determine the alleged victim’s age.
While the prosecution has alleged that the female in question was 14 years old when the tape was made, some of the defense’s actions — such as when Kelly’s attorney Ed Genson previously argued in written motions that it’s unconstitutional to criminalize “innocent conduct” — suggest they’ll argue she was of age and therefore the act was not criminal.
On Thursday Genson sought to exclude the findings of the prosecution’s expert forensic pediatrician, the University of North Carolina’s Dr. Sharon Cooper, who specializes in developmental pediatrics and who determined that the girl on the sex tape was underage (see “R. Kelly Under Investigation After Sex Tape Surfaces” ).
Genson argued that Cooper’s method of doing so, using the Tanner Scale of Pubertal Development, was of questionable validity, and he wants to challenge the doctor’s methods in what’s called a Frye hearing, which would examine the methodology or scientific principle to make sure it’s generally accepted in a particular field before it’s admissible as the basis for expert testimony.
Assistant State’s Attorney Shauna Boliker said Cooper’s testimony would only be used to show the alleged victim’s age, not to identify either the victim or the defendant, and argued that the Tanner Scale was a widely used and recognized method. (The five-stage Tanner Scale is used to determine sexual maturation and sexual development in adolescent girls, based on the presence of secondary sex characteristics like breasts and pubic hair.)
Kelly is due back in court December 17, at which point a date for the Frye hearing will be determined.