Mar 11, 2009
Posted by: Hitsville

Bono, noted Live Nation employee, ducks merger questions from DeRo!

To hear Hitsville tell the story, the nation’s music writers are spending all their time writing positive record reviews, a fact some readers find endlessly disputable!

So why is Jim DeRogatis kicking everyone’s ass in covering the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger?

U2, you will recall, has one of them-there “360 deals” with Live Nation, though in their case excluding recordings, so maybe it’s a “310 deal.” Here DeRogatis gets Bono to at least address the question. And the famously loquacious singer says …

“I haven’t really spent any time thinking about it. I’m just thinking about this [promoting ‘No Line on the Horizon’] …”

There’s more … the inimitable DeRogatis (with whom I once hosted a radio show) stays in Bono’s face.

I don’t remember Bono being asked about this by the Times or Rolling Stone.

Jun 05, 2008
Posted by: Hitsville

DeRo raps Trib!

deroJim DeRogatis, the reporter and critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, has sent a letter to his cross-town rival, the Chicago Tribune, for encapsulating his refusal to testify in the R. Kelly case as merely taking the Fifth. The letter’s full text:

While the Tribune blog correctly reports my reluctant appearance at the R.
Kelly trial yesterday, today’s print edition does not.

According to the subhed, “Sun-Times music critic cites 5th Amendment to
avoid testimony,” while reporters Stacy St. Clair and Kayce T. Ataiyero
write, “DeRogatis invoked his 5th Amendment right against
self-incrimination.”

Taking the stand only on the threat of imprisonment, 15 times I invoked all
of my protections, clearly emphasizing the ones that most matter to me and
all journalists in this state:

“I respectfully decline to answer the question on the advice of counsel, on
the grounds that to do so would contravene the reporter’s privilege, the
special witness doctrine, my rights under the Illinois Constitution, and
the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution.”

Judge Gaughan may have chosen to ignore every other protection but the
Fifth, but I invoked them all and would never have separated them. Mr.
Dunn, who recently represented the Tribune before this judge on a First
Amendment matter, eloquently and passionately argued that I was only taking
the Fifth because this judge made it necessary by ignoring the First. And
that assault on our most sacred of journalistic protections is on appeal.

A legal attack on any journalist’s rights is an attack on all of us. I
would have expected better of the Tribune in reporting the Sun-Times’
attempt to stand strong against this unjust and deeply troubling assault.

Sincerely,

Jim DeRogatis
Pop Music Critic
Chicago Sun-Times

Lots of fun ironies here: The Trib is the home of DeRogatis’s radio partner, critic Greg Kot. Also, the Trib online went out of its way the other day to describe DeRogatis as a “renowned music critic.”

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Josh Levin’s newest Slate post on the trial is here.

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Meanwhile, the Tribune has a new story taking a look at how the jury is holding up, now that the prosecution has rested its case, and the defense has begun:

Most juries feel a special connection with trial judges. This particular group certainly has embraced Cook County Judge Vincent Vaughan, laughing at all his jokes and shooting him approving looks when he lashes out at the attorneys for wasting time.

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The Daily Swarm is also following the R. Kelly case closely.

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Slate’s ongoing coverage is here.

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Disclosure: Hitsville is an old friend of Jim DeRogatis; we started the radio show “Sound Opinions” together.

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Earlier in Hitsville:

Everything you need to know about the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly Sexfactsâ„¢ IV: The Quantum of Solace! The complete prosecution case!

The Godfather Who Shagged Me: The complete R. Kelly SexFacts™, Parts I, II & III—Every barfy thing you ever wanted to know about the origins of the R. Kelly case

Targeting Jim DeRogatis—literally

More on L’affaire DeRogatis

The DeRogatis ruling

Bad craziness at the R. Kelly trial?

At the R. Kelly trial, they do things they don’t do on Broadway!

Ever hear the one about the guy convicted of murdering his parents who asked for mercy because he was a orphan?

The NYT and R. Kelly: Curiouser and curiouser

The NYT finally notices R. Kelly isn’t a nice guy

R. Kelly and the NYT: The Freaky Defense

Tribune, Sun-Times protest closed hearings in R. Kelly case

Secret hearings in the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly’s Publicist: He slept with my daughter!

Jun 04, 2008
Posted by: Hitsville

DeRo takes the Fifth!

dero

Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis appeared in court this morning and answered questions from the judge, taking the Fifth Amendment in each instance, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting:

Outside the presence of the jury this morning, DeRogatis, wearing a dark suit and tie, appeared before Gaughan to answer questions in court from Sun-Times attorney Damon Dunn and Kelly’s attorney, Marc Martin.

After identifying himself and spelling his name, he gave the same answer to every question he was asked about where the tape came from, what he did with it and what he had written about Kelly.

To each question, he answered, “I respectfully decline to answer the question on the advice of counsel on the grounds that to do so would contravene the reporter’s privilege, the special witness doctrine and my rights under the Illinois Constitution, and the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.”

Afterward, the judge released him from having to testify, over the objections of R. Kelly’s attorneys. The Sun-Times story also said this, however:

But urging Gaughan to force DeRogatis to testify, Martin argued that the statute of limitations protected DeRogatis from prosecution. Even if it didn’t, DeRogatis should be offered immunity, he said. Arguing that the Illinois reporter’s privilege and the First Amendment did not apply to DeRogatis in this case, he added, “Being a reporter does not give you a license to commit crimes.”

Siding with Dunn, Gaughan said that he had no power to grant DeRogatis federal immunity. He said DeRogatis would not have to testify, also refusing the defense’s request that DeRogatis be forced to assert his Fifth Amendment privileges in front of the jury.

DeRogatis will have to turn over his notes from an interview with Sparkle by 4 p.m. today, the judge said. Gaughan said he would review the notes in private to see if they reveal any of DeRogatis’s sources.

“He’s free to go,” Gaughan said, concluding the hearing.

Emphasis added. “Sparkle” is a onetime R. Kelly protégé named Stephanie Edwards, who recorded under the name Sparkle. She is also the aunt of the girl on the videotape that is at the center of the case, and has ID’ed R. Kelly and her niece as being on it. She was also one of DeRogatis’s original sources. Unless I missed it, the coverage of the case from Chicago has never explained why the defense wanted DeRogatis’s notes from the interview (presumably the one during which he played the tape for Edwards), or the grounds on which the judge ruled DeRogatis had to produce them.

Chicago Tribune’s coverage is here.

The defense’s case begins today.

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The Daily Swarm is also following the R. Kelly case, and Jim DeRogatis’s situation, closely.

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Disclosure: Hitsville is an old friend of Jim DeRogatis; we started the radio show “Sound Opinions” together.

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Earlier in Hitsville:

Everything you need to know about the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly Sexfactsâ„¢ IV: The Quantum of Solace! The complete prosecution case!

The Godfather Who Shagged Me: The complete R. Kelly SexFacts™, Parts I, II & III—Everything you ever wanted to know about the R. Kelly case

Targeting Jim DeRogatis—literally

More on L’affaire DeRogatis

The DeRogatis ruling

Bad craziness at the R. Kelly trial?

At the R. Kelly trial, they do things they don’t do on Broadway!

Ever hear the one about the guy convicted of murdering his parents who asked for mercy because he was a orphan?

The NYT and R. Kelly: Curiouser and curiouser

The NYT finally notices R. Kelly isn’t a nice guy

R. Kelly and the NYT: The Freaky Defense

Tribune, Sun-Times protest closed hearings in R. Kelly case

Secret hearings in the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly’s Publicist: He slept with my daughter!

Jun 04, 2008
Posted by: Hitsville

The R. Kelly case: How things stand, Wednesday a.m.

dero

Jim DeRogatis, the Sun-Times reporter who was anonymously delivered a copy of the R. Kelly sex tape for which the singer is currently on trial, did not show up to testify Tuesday. The judge debated on whether to throw him in jail and then decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and ordered him to show up today, Wednesday.

It’s not known whether he will show up, or what the judge will do if he doesn’t.

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Everything you need to know about the R. Kelly case.

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Josh Levin of Slate has a new post about yesterday’s events here.

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The Chicago Tribune has a story about the five biggest hurdles for the case for the defense, which is supposed to begin today. The first two:

•Mole, mole, mole: The defense told the jury during opening statements that the sex tape at the heart of the child pornography case would actually set Kelly free. Attorneys said Kelly has had a dark mole along his lower spine since childhood, but said the man in the tape has an unblemished back. A prosecution expert, however, showed the jury a freeze-frame image of the man’s back and there appeared to be a mole. Look for the defense to call its own video expert to dispute that.

•That’s what friends are for: Three former friends of Kelly’s alleged victim identified her as the female participant in the video. The young women, who are now in their early 20s and went to grade school in Oak Park, were adamant in their identifications, and no one suggested they had an ax to grind. The defense will counter their testimony by continuing to paint Oak Park as a place where normally bored residents leaped at the chance to take part in the seedy case.

For its part, the Sun-Times goes into detail about some legal comedy behind the scenes in the DeRogatis affair yesterday. The judge, for example, yelled at the Sun-Times lawyers for filing their appeal of his DeRogatis-must-testify ruling in the wrong court. The paper’s lawyers say the judge was wrong:

“You filed it in the wrong court. If you’re going to file a notice of appeal, you have to file it in the appellate court,” [Judge Vincent] Gaughan said.

But several appellate lawyers said the Sun-Times’ lawyers filed in the right place. Illinois Supreme Court Rules 303 and 606 call for notices of appeal to be filed with the circuit court, not the court of appeals, they noted.

“He’s just wrong,” said lawyer Joel Bertocchi of Hinshaw & Culbertson, former solicitor general of Illinois. “He’s just making a common mistake.”

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The Daily Swarm has a piece discussing who left the tape in DeRogatis’s mailbox originally. Some provocative speculations!

An unanswered question from the prosecution’s case: Why didn’t the defense ask each witness whether they had left the tape for DeRogatis?

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Earlier, the Sun-Times lawyer argued Tuesday afternoon that the reporter—technically—didn’t get a copy of the subpoena.

The judge argued that, technically, he could throw DeRogatis’s ass in jail in the meantime.

The judge, Vincent Gaughan, seemed to think that telling the Sun-Times attorney multiple times over the last week that he expected DeRogatis to be in court Tuesday a.m. had been warning enough.

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Hitsville is not a lawyer and doesn’t know whether the paper and DeRogatis have the law on their side. On the one hand, DeRogatis was handed a key—the key—piece of evidence in the case, and the defense has the right to determine the provenance of it, even if the testimony is, predictably, “We got it, we watched it, we called the police.”

But the issue is complicated. For one, DeRogatis is not, as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune have been describing him, merely a “music critic.” He is a reporter, and he and his colleague, Abdon Pallasch, had been filing major investigative pieces on Kelly’s sexual proclivities a year before the tape came to light.

That original blockbuster story is here. The pair’s original story about the tape, more than a year later, is here.

That’s why DeRogatis was delivered the tape—and that makes his receipt of it part of news-gathering activities that should not be exposed to scrutiny by a court, particularly when they have nothing to do with the crime being charged, which was the actual filming of the video some years before.

Some of the questions about his appearance have been answered in court over the past few days. But others haven’t. Here, for example, is a Sun-Times posting about his testimony:

Gaughan said Kelly’s attorneys will be allowed to question DeRogatis about when he received the tape and what he did with it before turning it over to police. But the judge said they cannot ask whether he made a copy or ask any questions about his sources.

Aren’t those two sentences contradictory? The issue of whether DeRogatis made a copy is key because the defense has been making noises that those who have testified on court about having seen the tape should be charged with possessing child pornography.

As Hitsville has written, this is an interesting legal position. (Isn’t it stipulating the prosecution’s case for defense attorneys in any way to acknowledge that the tape might be child porn? That’s what Kelly’s on trial for, after all.)

Beyond that, the judge has apparently ruled that DeRogatis must turn over notes from his interview with Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards. Again, from the papers it isn’t clear why these notes would be relevant. The tape was made years before DeRogatis interviewed Edwards—and DeRogatis’s reporting isn’t on trial.

On the other hand, the Chicago Tribune reported that testifying about the tape would not expose DeRogatis to possession of child porn charges—but only because the statute of limitations has apparently expired.

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The Daily Swarm is also following the R. Kelly case, and Jim DeRogatis’s situation, closely.

———–

Disclosure: Hitsville is an old friend of Jim DeRogatis; we started the radio show “Sound Opinions” together.

———–

Earlier in Hitsville:

Everything you need to know about the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly Sexfactsâ„¢ IV: The Quantum of Solace! The complete prosecution case!

The Godfather Who Shagged Me: The complete R. Kelly SexFacts™, Parts I, II & III—Every barfy thing you ever wanted to know about the origins of the R. Kelly case

Targeting Jim DeRogatis—literally

More on L’affaire DeRogatis

The DeRogatis ruling

Bad craziness at the R. Kelly trial?

At the R. Kelly trial, they do things they don’t do on Broadway!

Ever hear the one about the guy convicted of murdering his parents who asked for mercy because he was a orphan?

The NYT and R. Kelly: Curiouser and curiouser

The NYT finally notices R. Kelly isn’t a nice guy

R. Kelly and the NYT: The Freaky Defense

Tribune, Sun-Times protest closed hearings in R. Kelly case

Secret hearings in the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly’s Publicist: He slept with my daughter!

Jun 04, 2008
Posted by: Hitsville

Everything you need to know about the R. Kelly case

r. kelly mug shotCurious about what in the hell is going on with the R. Kelly case? You can find the background in these articles:

The original Chicago-Sun Times story by Jim DeRogatis and Abdon Pallasch is here.

The pair’s original story about the tape, more than a year later, is here.

The Sun-Times’ trial coverage main page is here.

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Major Hitsville coverage:

The Godfather Who Shagged Me: The complete R. Kelly SexFacts™, Parts I, II & III—Every barfy thing you ever wanted to know about the R. Kelly case

R. Kelly Sexfactsâ„¢ IV: The Quantum of Solace! The complete prosecution case!

Will Jim DeRogatis be arrested?

R. Kelly and the NYT: The Freaky Defense

The NYT finally notices R. Kelly isn’t a nice guy

The NYT and R. Kelly: Curiouser and curiouser

Hitsville’s complete R. Kelly writings

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The Daily Swarm posts constant updates here.

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Slate’s ongoing coverage is here.

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You can access the Chicago Tribune’s ongoing coverage here.