Ex-friend of alleged victim identifies her, R. Kelly as those on tape
The former best friend of the alleged victim in the R. Kelly child pornography case testified Wednesday that she recognized the singer and the girl on the sex tape shown in court and that she spent time with them at various locations, including his home.

When asked by Assistant State's Atty. Shauna Boliker what her initial impressions were after viewing the tape, Simha Jamison said, "I thought she looked like my best friend ..."

She said the man on the tape is R. Kelly.

Jamison, who is now 24, said she and the girl were inseparable since the summer before 4th grade. She said when they were about 13 or 14, they got matching mullet haircuts, a hairdo Jamison said she recognized on the tape. The hairstyle and the face of the girl in the video convinced her that it was her former best friend on the tape, she said.

"I kind of know her like the back of my hand," Jamison said, when asked by Boliker how she could identify the girl. "Mainly because of the haircut that she has."

The woman went on to tell the court that she hung out with the girl and Kelly several times at a local gym, a studio and at his home. She said that sometimes they would be accompanied by her parents; other times they would take the train or "bum a ride."

She said she and the girl would hang out in the studio and "sit and talk" while Kelly recorded music. If it was a weeknight, the pair would leave the studio together. But some weekends, Jamison said the girl would stay by herself.

Jamison said the girl introduced Kelly to her and that she witnessed the singer regularly give the girl money, ranging from $100 to $500. The girls would then take the cash and go shopping, she testified. Jamison also said that the girl got a brand-new black Chrysler PT Cruiser the summer before her sophomore year.

The two woman are not friends anymore, Jamison said. They last spoke six years ago in passing after an encounter in a downtown store.

The defense was expected to cross-examine Jamison after the lunch break.

Azam Ahmed and Kayce T. Ataiyero

May 21, 2008 5:24 AM: A more engaged R. Kelly appears

We return this morning for the second day of testimony in the R. Kelly case. While the illicit video tape and dramatic opening statements made headlines Tuesday, one little noted development was the emergence of a more engaged R&B superstar.

During jury selection last week, Kelly often seemed bored or struggling to stay awake. He often scribbled on Post-it Notes and bobbed his head, as if writing lyrics to music only he could hear.

On Tuesday, however, an uber-serious defendant sat at the defense table and seemed to hang on every word during both opening statements and legal motions argued outside the jury's presence. He nodded his head as attorney Sam Adam Jr. outlined a vigorous defense, and he even conferred with his defense team on a few occasions.

When the sex tape was screened for the jury, he fittingly looked appalled by the images on courtroom monitors. At one point, he covered his mouth with his hand as if signaling his disgust.

Sporting a pin-striped suit and his trademark braids, the singer arrived at the courthouse with an entourage three times larger than the one that accompanied him to jury selection. His estranged wife, Andrea, has not attended any proceedings with him so far. The couple, who have three children, are currently divorcing. Kelly is not wearing a wedding ring in court, though he has on a platinum band in pictures taken by the Chicago Police Department after his 2002 arrest.

Stacy St. Clair

May 20, 2008 5:35 PM: First day of testimony ends