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R. Kelly Case Weakening?

Chicago- The Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped seven of the 21 child pornography counts against R&B superstar R. Kelly on Friday.

Kelly’s publicist called it “the first official acknowledgement of the weakness of their case,” arguing the singer should not have been with charged with violating laws that went into effect after the alleged crime.

Counts 15 through 21 of the indictment against Kelly dealt with a state child pornography law that Kelly said was passed after he allegedly taped himself having sex with an underage girl, so the charges violated the constitutional prohibition against “after the fact” laws, Kelly attorneys Edward Genson and Terry Gillespie argued.

Prosecutors dropped the counts rather than fight Kelly’s arguments. Prosecutors downplayed the importance of the counts, saying that dropping 7 out of 21 charges is not the same as dismissing a third of their case against Kelly. “As a matter of trial strategy, the state always reviews an indictment prior to trial and proceeds to trial on selected counts of the indictment,” Special Assistant State’s Attorney Ellen Mandeltort said. The state was planning to drop those counts before trial, she said. “But rather than litigate the issue, we’ll just [drop] the counts now.” Judge Vincent Gaughan told Mandeltort, “Thank you, state, that’s very professional of you.”

The first 14 counts against Kelly remain. They cover all the main charges against him for videotaping what prosecutors say were sex acts with an underage girl.

Genson said the dropping of charges showed “the problems” the state has with the indictment but declined further comment.

It has been 20 months since Kelly was indicted, but no trial date has been set yet. Prosecutors deny that indicates any weakness in their case. Both sides say they are just taking the time to research and prepare their arguments and examine the evidence.

Kelly’s lawyers have filed 11 motions seeking to have all or some of the charges against Kelly dropped. Prosecutors Friday responded to most of them.

Kelly received permission to travel to the Soul Train awards in Los Angeles, as he had in March to the Grammy Awards. He must call in every day to a court official and avoid contact with children.

According to a posting on Celebrity Justice, singer-songwriter Russell Hamilton — who says he spent years reaching his goal of working with the R&B superstar and was there when Kelly wrote his hit song, “Ignition” — claims that the singer “was failed by his demons, (by) some sort of problem he has.”

Though R. Kelly’s publicist said that he has never heard of Russell, Russell’s single “Rich Man” carries the credit “produced and additional vocals by R. Kelly.”

Russell claims that just days before the song’s initial release, his dream was shattered by R. Kelly’s arrest in June of 2002 on 21 child pornography charges. “The police just came from everywhere,” Russell recalls. “They were in trees and everything. It was overwhelming.”

The raid was sparked by a video allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl. “The guy just has a problem with his sex drive,” Russell says.

Russell has publicly defended R. Kelly as falsely charged, but now says he believes the creative force behind sexually provocative hits like “Bump and Grind” has a problem.

“I would say that he had a problem with one young girl. I would characterize it as overboard,” Russell says. “Although I didn’t see him have sex with this young girl or anything like that, there was definitely a chemistry between the two that was like love or puppy love.”

Russell says he refused to watch the infamous video, but suspects that the girl he’s referring to is the one on the tape. “He’s a bit aggressive when it comes to women,” Russell says of Kelly. “That’s saying it lightly. He’s a real control freak.”

Now engaged, Russell says he’s rebuilding his life with his new album. Despite it all, Russell still feels for his former idol: “He’s got a lot of good sides to him.”


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