Prosecution rests in R Kelly child-porn trial

June 2, 2008 6:55:31 PM PDT
A star prosecution witness grew emotional Monday as she alleged at R. Kelly's child pornography trial several three-way sexual encounters with the R&B superstar and the alleged victim, some of which she said were videotaped.

Lisa Van Allen, the last witness before prosecutors rested their case, also told jurors in more than three hours of graphic and dramatic testimony that Kelly last year offered her $250,000 to recover a tape of one of the trysts.

Defense attorneys accused her of trying to extort the singer.

Kelly faces as many as 15 years in prison if convicted of child pornography on suspicion of videotaping himself having sex with a female prosecutors say was as young as 13. He has pleaded not guilty and both he and the alleged victim, now 23, deny being on the video - which is separate from those Van Allen testified to being on.

The state rested its case after Van Allen's testimony. Jurors will get Tuesday off before the defense begins its presentation on Wednesday.

Van Allen, 27, told jurors Monday she first had sex with Kelly and the alleged victim in 1998. Kelly would have been around 30 years old at the time, Van Allen about 18 and the alleged victim would have been 14, according to prosecutors' estimates.

Van Allen said Kelly told her at the time that the alleged victim was 16. The age of legal consent in Illinois is 17.

Allen said the three-way sex took place in the same North Chicago home where prosecutors say the sex tape at the center of the case also was made.

Van Allen said she began crying during a second sexual encounter in 1999 with Kelly and the alleged victim, leading an upset Kelly to pick up the video camera and leave the room.

"I started crying ... because I didn't want to do it," Van Allen testified.

Several months pregnant, Van Allen, from Georgia, initially appeared relaxed on the witness stand and smiled frequently. But she began weeping when she discussed the second alleged encounter.

Prosecutors paused for two minutes as she dabbed tears from her face.

Kelly looked on from across the room as Van Allen testified, at least once appearing to shake his head and other times leaning into the defense table, staring at his folded hands.

Van Allen told jurors that Kelly offered her $250,000 last year to recover a tape of one of the encounters with the alleged victim.

She said acquaintances of hers took the tape to Chicago hotel, where it was handed over to a Kelly associate who paid $20,000 in cash.

Van Allen testified that Kelly carried a duffel bag containing his homemade sex tapes everywhere he went.

"Wherever he was at, the bag would follow him," she said.

Van Allen said she first met Kelly at the making of a music video in Georgia about 10 years ago. She later appeared in several Kelly music videos, including one for the song "I Wish," in which she braids the singer's hair. During a 1998 Kelly concert tour, Van Allen said she simulated sex with the singer onstage.

Before Van Allen took the stand, Judge Vincent Gaughan advised that she had been appointed an attorney, saying some of her testimony might be "self-incriminating." She was granted immunity by prosecutors.

Both Kelly and the alleged victim say they are not in the sex tape at the center of the case, which shows a female and a man prosecutors say is Kelly. Van Allen said she approached prosecutors about testifying in the case only several months ago - six years after Kelly was charged.

"It's the right thing to do," she explained to jurors.

But defense attorney Sam Adam Sr. grilled Van Allen in cross-examination, accusing her of trying to hatch a plot to extort money from the wealthy Kelly.

Van Allen admitted to stealing Kelly's $20,000 diamond-studded watch during a hotel meeting with the singer in 2001. She said she admitted to prosecutors she stole the watch before her testimony Monday.

"So the spirit didn't move you to do the right thing, this, until today?" Adam asked.