R. Kelly’s trial was interrupted by a fan who was arrested after shouting “Free R. Kelly” metres away from the courtroom.

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According to reports, Debra Triplett was standing by the elevator used by jury members to shield them from the media when she shouted twice.

She was arrested, handcuffed and brought before Judge Vincent Vaughan. The arresting officer, Sergeant London Thomas, was sworn in and testified that he witnessed the entire incident: “I was looking directly at her and heard her say it.”

The judge set her bail at USD50,000 and scheduled a hearing for June 25. After establishing the jury hadn’t heard the shouts and could therefore not be influenced, the singer’s trial was allowed to continue.

Once the trial got underway, a former back-up singer of R. Kelly’s cried when she took the stand.

Stephanie Edwards introduced the girl in the tape to the singer when she was aged just 12 or 13, and also confirmed she recognised the pair in the sex tape being shown to the jury.

Defence attorney Ed Genson then accused the singer of trying to “get Robert” after she fell out with the singer in 2000 and tried to set him up to earn money.

Stephanie replied with a raised voice: “Sweetie, I’m not trying to get money out of this.”

Genson angrily replied, “I’m not your sweetie!”, prompting the judge to intervene.

During the proceedings yesterday (22.05.08), another friend of the girl in the tape took to the stand. Aubrey Hampton said she recognised her friend in the footage and identified mannerisms, including her biting her lower lip.

However, Aubry admitted she hadn’t seen her pal in six years, but was adamant it was her and the singer in the tape.

R. Kelly is on trial over 14 counts relating to the 26-minute video which shows a man having sex with a girl aged around 13.

According to reports, Kelly – real name Robert – rocked in his chair as the “vile and disturbing” video was shown to the courtroom. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in jail.