Chicago, Mar 23 (AP/UNB) — R. Kelly yelled through tears in a recent TV interview before an audience numbering in the millions, saying he's in a fight for his life to disprove sexual abuse charges. That fight will ultimately be waged in court, with the only audience that matters numbering just 12 jurors.
While the day lawyers deliver opening statements to jurors inside a Cook County courtroom is still many months or even years away, court filings as well as comments by the R&B star himself and his attorney after charges in February provide clues about an emerging legal strategy.
Signs are they intend to question the veracity of his accusers and argue that, if he had sex with them, it was consensual and he thought they were of age. His attorney has also signaled he'll push to have some counts tossed on grounds statutes of limitation ran out or because some are too closely related to crimes for which Kelly was acquitted at his 2008 child pornography trial.
Kelly, 52, was right in more ways than one when he cursed during the interview with Gayle King of "CBS This Morning," saying: "I'm fighting for my ... life." If convicted on all ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse of three underage girls and one adult, the Grammy winner faces an effective life sentence of up to 70 years in prison.
The defense is expected to fine tune their argument over coming months that Kelly's accusers are misrepresenting the facts. For now, there's not much finesse.
"All of them are lying," Kelly told King in his only full interview since being charged. "I have been assassinated," he said. Kelly's lead attorney, Steve Greenberg, also told reporters the day of Kelly's arrest, "I think all the women are lying, yes."
At a Friday pretrial hearing, prosecutors said they weren't immediately providing the defense with a copy of a video they say shows Kelly having sex with one of the minors because it's considered child pornography and shouldn't be distributed to anyone.
"The state's going to have to give it to us. They can't play hide the ball," Greenberg told reporters outside court later. "We're entitled to see the tape."
He said the prosecutor's office has handed over some evidence but still holds the bulk of it.
"I was expecting everything by this point," he said. "You should be in a position when you indict somebody the next day to turn over all the (evidence)."
Greenberg is best known for representing the accused in several high-profile murder cases, including of former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson. He was convicted in 2012 of killing his third wife in a case reopened after his fourth wife disappeared.
Greenberg is regarded as a savvy, experienced lawyer prone to quips that have sometimes raised eyebrows. In arguing that any sex was consensual, Greenberg told reporters last month about Kelly: "He's a rock star. He doesn't need to have nonconsensual sex."
Greenberg and attorney Michael Avenatti have regularly clashed via Twitter, both questioning the lawyerly skills of the other. Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in a civil case against President Donald Trump, gave video evidence to prosecutors that he says helped them charge Kelly.
Prosecutors say they won't have to depend only on the word of the accusers.
The video Avenatti turned over purportedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl 20 years ago while Kelly and the girl say aloud more than 10 times that she's 14, which could help prove Kelly knew she was a minor.
And another accuser, a hairdresser, says Kelly forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2003 when she was 24. Prosecutors say a police lab found Kelly's DNA in semen on a shirt she was wearing that day.
In a defense filing Wednesday, Greenberg questioned the motives of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, accusing her of bringing a flimsy criminal case based on old allegations "to thrust herself into the spotlight" of the #MeToo movement, which aims to highlight sexual abuse against women.
A Foxx spokeswoman declined comment.
Greenberg has also criticized Foxx for public statements in January calling allegations against Kelly in a Lifetime documentary "sickening." He said characterizing the allegations before charges were even brought illustrated bias and may have tainted the pool of potential jurors, rendering a fair trial impossible. He could revive those arguments in motions to dismiss or in appeals if Kelly is convicted.
The girl in two videos that Avenatti provided to prosecutors — one of which he turned over after Kelly was charged — is the same girl in a similar video at the heart of the 2008 trial.
Greenberg says that means charges related to her violate constitutional protections called "double jeopardy," designed to thwart overzealous prosecutors from charging people for the same crime for which they've already been acquitted.
"Double jeopardy," Greenberg said last month, "should bar that case." Kelly appeared to be making a similar point when he told King, "When you beat your case, you beat your case."
But legal experts say it's not that simple.
Double jeopardy shouldn't apply if it's not exactly the same incident being charged, said Monu Bedi, a professor at DePaul University College of Law. He said it also doesn't necessarily apply if it's the same incident but a different charge. All the 14 counts Kelly faced in 2008 were child pornography, while all 10 this time are sexual abuse, Bedi said.
But Illinois law extends protections against double jeopardy further than the protections provided under the U.S. Constitution. That could help Kelly's legal team make the case that — when it comes to the girl in the video — prosecutors are unlawfully charging him with the same crime for which he has been acquitted.
Greenberg has said the legal window on bringing at least some of the charges filed against Kelly shut years ago, though he hasn't fully explained how. Calculating when statutes of limitations run out are complex, relying on variables that are sometimes open to interpretation.
Illinois legislators in 2017 did erase all time limits for charging sexual assault of children and it unambiguously applies to such crimes that happened anytime since 2017. It can't apply retroactively to older crimes.
But that doesn't mean any sex abuse by Kelly in the late 1990s can't be charged now, Bedi said. That's because older sexual assaults are governed by the statute of limitations as it existed before 2017, when prosecutors had 20 years to charge abuse of children. So, if Kelly sexually abused a minor as far back as the late 1990s, prosecutors should still be within the 20-year charging window.
Jahangirnagar University, Mar 22 (UNB) – A three-day film festival was concluded at the Zahir Raihan auditorium on Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus on Friday.
With the slogan ‘Alada Chithi Tobu Ek Khame, Alada Shobai Shudhu Ek Name’, the convening committee of education ending celebration programme of students of session 2011-12, organised the festival.
Convener of the committee Abdur Rahim Jewel said every batch organises various cultural events to mark the end of their studies.
“We’ll organise the main event of our Rag Festival by the end of April,” he added.
Nine movies, including Dahan, KGF, Taitanic, Palabi Kothay, Tere Nam, Post Master 71, Badhai Ho and Deadpool 2, were shown at the festival.
Los Angeles, Mar 20 (AP/UNB) — "The Young and the Restless" star Kristoff St. John died of heart disease, with excessive drinking at the time of his death a contributing factor, according to a coroner's report released Tuesday.
Investigators listed "hypertrophic heart disease" as the cause of the 52-year-old's death on Feb. 4 at his home in Los Angeles. "Hypertrophic" means the heart muscle has become abnormally thick, making blood-pumping difficult.
Heavy alcohol use along with a congenital artery problem contributed to St. John's death, the report said.
Three days earlier, St. John had been released from a mental health hospital where he had been admitted for alcohol abuse and threatening self-harm, according to the report. It also listed a history of mental-health and alcohol problems.
He last spoke to someone about 24 hours before paramedics declared him dead in his apartment on a Sunday morning, the report states.
For 27 years, St. John played struggling alcoholic and ladies' man Neil Winters on the CBS soap opera, "The Young and the Restless."
He was nominated for 11 daytime Emmys, winning twice, for outstanding younger actor in a drama series, in 1992 and supporting actor in 2008.
He died four years after the death of his 24-year-old son, and St. John had spoken on social media about his struggles with grief.
He had become engaged to model Kseniya Mikhaleva in September.
St. John's last episode of "The Young and the Restless" aired in the week following his death. A story line that pays tribute to both Kristoff and his character is set to start in late April.
Los Angeles, Mar 18 (AP/UNB) — Dick Dale, whose pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals on songs like "Miserlou" and "Let's Go Trippin'" earned him the title King of the Surf Guitar, has died at age 81.
His former bassist Sam Bolle says Dick Dale passed away Saturday night. No other details were available.
Dale liked to say it was he and not the Beach Boys who invented surf music — and some critics have said he was right.
An avid surfer, Dale started building a devoted Los Angeles fan base in the late 1950s with repeated appearances at Newport Beach's old Rendezvous Ballroom. He played "Miserlou," ''The Wedge," ''Night Rider" and other compositions at wall-rattling volume on a custom-made Fender Stratocaster guitar.
"Miserlou," which would become his signature song, had been adapted from a Middle Eastern folk tune Dale heard as a child and later transformed into a thundering surf-rock instrumental.
His fingering style was so frenetic that he shredded guitar picks during songs, a technique that forced him to stash spares on his guitar's body. "Better shred than dead," he liked to joke, an expression that eventually became the title of a 1997 anthology released by Rhino Records.
Dale said he developed his musical style when he sought to merge the sounds of the crashing ocean waves he heard while surfing with melodies inspired by the rockabilly music he loved.
He pounded rather than plucked the strings of his guitar in a style he said he borrowed from an early musical hero, the great jazz drummer Gene Krupa.
"Dale pioneered a musical genre that Beach Boy Brian Wilson and others would later bring to fruition," Rolling Stone magazine said in its "Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll" adding "Let's Go Trippin'" was released in 1961, two months ahead of the Beach Boys' first hit, "Surfin.'"
The magazine called Dale's song "the harbinger of the '60s surf music craze."
Although popular around Southern California, Dale might have remained just a cult figure if surfing had not exploded in worldwide popularity during his peak creative years.
When the first of a series of "Beach Party" movies made to cash in on the phenomenon was released in 1963, it included Dick Dale and the Del-Tones performing "Secret Surfing Spot" as teen heartthrob Annette Funicello danced on the beach.
Dale had released his first album, "Surfer's Choice," a year earlier. He followed it with four more over the next two years while appearing in several "Beach Party" sequels and other surfer movies.
Other popular Dale songs included "Jungle Fever," ''Shake-N-Stomp" and "Swingin' and Surfin'."
His star dimmed after the Beatles led music's British invasion onto the pop charts in 1964 and his record label dropped him. His career also was sidelined by a battle with cancer in the 1960s and a serious foot infection in the 1970s that was the result of a surfing injury.
His musical influence was profound and included guitar virtuosos Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan and movie director Quentin Tarantino, who selected Dale's "Miserlou," as the theme song of his 1994 film "Pulp Fiction." That helped pull the guitarist back into the pop-culture spotlight.
Dale himself had begun to launch a comeback with the 1987 film "Back to the Beach," which reunited Funicello and her co-star Frankie Avalon as a middle-aged couple returning to their old surfing haunts. He teamed up with Vaughan to record the classic surf instrumental "Pipeline" for that film, earning the pair a Grammy nomination.
In 1993 he released "Tribal Thunder," his first album of all new material in nearly 30 years. He followed it with "Unknown Territory" the following year.
Dale continued to tour into his 80s, in part he said to pay the medical bills that advancing age was saddling him with. Having beaten cancer in the 1960s, he suffered a serious recurrence in 2015.
Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston on May 4, 1937, Dale moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1954, where he immediately fell in love with surfing and the electric guitar.
As a child, he listened to Lebanese and Polish folk tunes played by his parents. Eventually he graduated to big band, swing, country and rockabilly.
Self-taught on guitar, the left-handed Dale couldn't afford a custom-made model, so early on he played a standard right-hand guitar upside down and backward. That ended after a meeting with legendary guitar builder Leo Fender, who offered to make Dale his own left-handed model if he'd test a line of guitars and amplifiers Fender was developing.
"I became Leo's personal guinea pig," Dale told The Associated Press in 1997. "Anything that came out of the Fender company, I played."
He played so loudly that he blew up one amplifier after another until a frustrated Fender built him a "Dick Dale Dual Showman" doubled-sized amp. It was a model that would become popular with aspiring Los Angeles guitarists.
As he began to become well known, he began calling himself Dick Dale, explaining years later that a radio disc jockey had suggested it was a better name for a rock star than Richard Monsour.
His surfer buddies had already nicknamed him King of the Surf Guitar, a title he said he initially resisted, fearing it would limit his audience. When the spirit of surfing caught on everywhere, however, he came to embrace the crown.
Dale is survived by his wife, Lana, and a son, James, a drummer who sometimes toured with his father.
Chicago, Mar 14 (AP/UNB) — A judge is expected to be assigned to Jussie Smollett's disorderly conduct case when the "Empire" actor returns to court Thursday.
That judge will then likely ask Smollett to enter a plea.
Smollett is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago.
The actor appeared in court earlier this week when prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to allow cameras during Thursday's hearing.
Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted to promote his career.
A grand jury in Chicago indicted him on 16 felony counts, which his attorneys have called "prosecutorial overkill." Smollett, who is free on bond, maintains his innocence.