The R. Kelly trial moved into its defense stage yesterday, with Rolling Stone remarking that Kelly’s defense seemed to be well behind the eight-ball, failing to produce one of its witnesses, who it claimed was out of town. This was after the defense also apparently scrapped a list of witnesses at the last minute. The two witnesses who remained maintained R. Kelly’s innocence of the crimes against him — kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, and more — and tried to characterize the singer as chivalrous.
However, on cross-examination, the prosecution worked to establish their unreliability as witnesses. The first, Dhanai Ramnanan, apparently couldn’t remember specific details of his dealings with R. Kelly and the prosecution pressed him to identify himself in photos of the singer with women on his tour bus. He was unable to, which allowed the prosecution to present an argument that there was no way for Ramnanan to know what Kelly was doing when he wasn’t around. Ramnanan was also colored by his need to remain on Kelly’s good side.
The second witness, Larry Hood, was the singer’s bodyguard and a former Chicago police officer; however, the prosecution brought up Hood’s prior conviction for felony forgery. While Hood maintained he did not know that he was spending counterfeit $100 bills in 2007, he still pled guilty. Likewise, while he claimed he didn’t know about Kelly’s marriage to a then-underage Aaliyah, the prosecution implied that this could also be a falsehood or a gross oversight by Hood.
The trial is set to continue Tuesday and Wednesday. Rolling Stone notes that the defense still had not furnished a list of witnesses.