March 11, 2004 10:56 AM

Detectives illegally seized photos allegedly showing R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl, meaning that prosecutors cannot use them in their attempt to build their child-pornography case against the “Feelin’ on Yo Booty” R&B singer, a Florida judge ruled Thursday.

Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney concurred with Kelly’s defense team that sheriff’s detectives in Polk County lacked sufficient evidence to justify a search of Kelly’s home when they sought a warrant in June 2002, the Associated Press reports.

The photos were said to be inside a digital camera that was wrapped in a towel inside a duffel bag.

Prosecutors said they would await the jurist’s written order before deciding if they would appeal.

Assistant State Attorney Chip Thulberry tells the news service that if the appeal does not proceed, prosecutors will drop the 12 counts of child pornography against Kelly, 36 (real name: Robert Sylvester Kelly).

Kelly’s Chicago-based lawyer, Ed Genson, said he personally informed the singer that the evidence was being tossed out. “I told him, ‘Congratulations.’ He was very pleased,” Genson said.

Still, Kelly — who has pleaded innocent to all counts against him — faces 14 counts of child pornography in Chicago. Last month, seven of the original 21 child pornography charges in Chicago were dismissed.

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