Stacy St. Clair
The carrot has dangled before us all week, taunting and teasing us like an aquatic mirage in the desert.
We sat patiently as the state called witness after witness to say what the others had already said before. We struggled through testimony about evidence collection that was drier than the sandwich we ate for lunch. All because we thought that, finally, now we would get the fireworks we were promised.
But the day has turned out to be a dud.
Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan informed the jury a short while ago that Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst, will be the last witness of the day, thus dashing our hopes of hearing from the prosecution's star witness who was set to testify that she had a three-way sexual encounter with R. Kelly and the alleged victim.
A wave of disappointment washed through the courthouse as word got around that the woman's bombshell testimony was not happening Thursday. The spectators in the gallery thinned out. Court personnel in the hallway walked away shaking their heads upon learning that they broke away from their own cases for nothing.
We're sorry we got your hopes up, loyal blog readers. Trust us, we're disappointed too. We're now left trying to figure out how to make video analysis seem sexy.
Kayce T. Ataiyero
May 29, 2008 3:01 PM: Tale of the tape: Video expert testifies
If you ever wanted proof that forensic investigative techniques are just not as interesting as they appear on TV dramas, this last witness is your guy.
George Skaluba, a video analyst with the forensic unit of the FBI, spent the better part of an hour and a half Thursday discussing the various ways that videotapes are produced, reproduced, analyzed, morphed, doctored and damaged.
We call it the "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Videotapes Plus An Hour More" testimony.
He used more technical terms than helpful in a blog, and ultimately concluded the following: 1) The tape is not an original, and he doesn't know what generation tape it is.
2) The more you copy a tape, the more the quality and clarity of the video deteriorates.
3) It was not a good-quality tape.
4) The copy he reviewed didn't appear to be altered, but the original may have been.
5) To morph the faces and images in the 27-minute video (think "Little Man") was possible, but it would take "years" and would be "very, very difficult because of the length" of the tape. On top of that, he said, it would likely be easily identifiable.