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May 23, 2008 5:38AM: 5 things you never knew about R. Kelly
from Chicago Tribune

Before the R. Kelly trial breaks for the holiday weekend, attorneys will be back in court this morning to take care of some housekeeping matters out of the jury's presence. We'll be back with any updates before noon.

It certainly has been an interesting first week, one filled with a sex tape, forgetful witnesses and Stephanie "Sparkle" Edwards' dazzling testimony. Still, few things made a bigger impression on us than the odd tidbits we learned about the R&B superstar. Here are five things we never knew about Kelly before his child pornography trial:

•He does a mad Marlon Brando impression: Edwards testified that Kelly loves "The Godfather" so much, he often puts a ball in the side of his mouth and quotes lines from the 1972 classic. His frequent Brando-as-Don-Corleone impressions prompted Edwards—and later his alleged victim—to refer to him as "godfather."

•He really, really, liked "Space Jam": Kelly's popularity soared in 1996 when he released "I Believe I Can Fly," the theme song to Michael Jordan's live action/animated film, "Space Jam." The singer, it seems, memorialized the movie in a series of murals on the walls of his basement basketball court. According to testimony, the murals featured cartoon characters such as Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. The centerpiece was a painting of Kelly hooping it up against the Tasmanian Devil, with Jordan serving as the referee.

•He forces his basketball buddies into involuntary servitude: Kelly's attorneys revealed that when Kelly is recording an album he keeps his "hangers-on" in the studio at all times in case he feels like playing basketball.

•He might want to see a dermatologist: Simha Jamison, former best friend of Kelly's alleged victim, gave the singer some unsolicited medical advice when she testified against him. Asked to examine a photograph of Kelly's bare torso, Jamison expressed concern over a dark mole on his lower back. "It could be a cancerous mole," said Jamison, an Oak Park hairstylist. Kelly grimaced, then laughed—his first and only guffaw during the first three days of testimony.

•He enjoys a good after-hours prayer session: Kelly's attorneys suggest that a prayer group called "Midnight Missionaries" often came to the studio in the wee hours to pray about topics such as "sin and adultery."

-- Stacy St. Clair

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