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The Porn Identity?

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For R. Kelly, the tale of the tape goes on. On June 5, Illinois indicted the R&B star (right) on 21 counts of child pornography relating to a video that allegedly shows Kelly, 35, having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Each charge relates to a specific act, including ”masturbation,” ”lewd fondling,” and ”urination.” (He has denied the allegations.) Kelly may have avoided statutory rape charges because the alleged victim, now 17, and her parents deny she’s on the tape—although prosecutors produced dozens of witnesses to ID the participants. And Chicago child-welfare agents are investigating the parents to see if they knew about the alleged relationship and are then subject to negligence charges.

It’s unclear how the family’s denials will affect the case. ”Under most circumstances, when the complaining witness refuses to cooperate with the prosecution, it’s like a dagger to the heart,” says Chicago criminal attorney Stephen Komie. ”[But] normally you don’t have the FBI, the Chicago police, and every other law enforcement agency focused on one person.”

Meanwhile, Kelly’s career seems unlikely to touch the sky again soon. Many radio stations have pulled his songs, Ashanti and Dr. Dre recently shelved planned collaborations with him, and Kelly’s expected blockbuster disc with Jay-Z, The Best of Both Worlds, has barely gone platinum since its March debut. Even Sisqo attacks Kelly on the underground track ”This Is a Heart”: ”’The World’s Greatest’? Whatever/Ain’t nothing but a child molester.” Ouch.

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