Former R. Kelly protégé Sparkle took the stand yesterday afternoon in a heated testimony, identifying both Kelly and her relative - the alleged victim - as both being in the tape.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Sparkle (born Stephanie Edwards) testified that she introduced the girl to Kelly shortly after she signed to Kelly's Rockland Records in 1996.
Sparkle says that she brought the girl, who was an aspiring rapper, to both Kelly's studio and later his home when the girl was 12 or 13 years-old. She said that a lawyer's assistant brought her the video in question in 2001 for a positive ID where she identified the girl in the video as her relative.
"He liked her spirit," Sparkle said. "She was a very jolly person at the time, very personable, a little tomboyish. She was my heart." She also said that the surfacing of the tape split their once close knit family into separate factions.
While being cross examined, Kelly's defense lawyer, Edward Genson, attempted to paint Sparkle's testimony as being motivated by money and revenge, partially stemming from her split with Kelly's label.
The defense also asked if she ever suspected or noticed things going on between the two.
"I would see little hints of something," she said. "But I would hope that it was nothing, that nothing was going on, that nothing was happening. I saw little things, nothing to get crazy about."
When Genson tried to suggest that the tape may have been doctored, Edwards interrupted, "Sir, it's Robert and [the relative] on the tape. I know my family."
When it was pointed out that the female in the tape is seen taking money, Edwards replied, "Just like he made her do. She's a robot on this tape. You can clearly see Robert passing her money like she's a prostitute."
Sparkle, whose self-titled debut album went platinum, is best known for her 1998 hit with Kells, "Be Careful." She said that she first met the singer in 1989, and would later marry and subsequently divorce a member of his former backup band, Public Announcement.
The multi-Grammy award winning R&B singer faces 14 counts of videotaping, producing or soliciting child pornography and if convicted could face up to 15 years in prison.
Stay tuned To SOHH as the story develops
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