The trial of R. Kelly continued yesterday with more testimony being given against the beleaguered singer who is accused of child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, kidnapping, forced labor, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.
via: The Daily Beast
A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly when she was a teenager told jurors in Brooklyn federal court on Monday that she also personally witnessed the singer sexually assault underage R&B star Aaliyah in the back of his tour bus in 1992 or 1993.
At the time, Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001, would have been 13 or 14 years old.
“[I] slightly opened the door and saw Robert and Aaliyah in a sexual situation,” the woman, who identified herself on the stand as “Angela” and said she worked as a backup singer, told jurors during Kelly’s sex-crimes trial.
“It appeared he was giving her oral sex,” she added about the incident, noting that Aaliyah was sitting “with her legs open” and Kelly was “on his knees, in between her legs.”
The alleged incident came at least one year before Kelly’s secret marriage to Aaliyah, who was just 15 at the time of the ceremony. During Kelly’s trial, witnesses and prosecutors have said that in order to marry her, Kelly bribed an Illinois state official for fake identification for the teenager.
The shocking allegations suggest Kelly’s predation of underaged girls went even younger than previously reported. Coupled with the bombshell that Angela was allegedly assaulted herself in 1991, when she was 14 or 15, the testimony offered some of the most detailed evidence yet of Kelly preying on Aaliyah when she was a child.
Prosecutors have charged Kelly with allegedly abusing at least six women and girls, four of whom were minors at the time. While Kelly is not charged with crimes against Angela, her testimony could be crucial in the prosecution’s argument that the singer had a pattern of predatory behavior that was supported by his employees.
“We were taught from Day 1 to protect Robert,” Angela told jurors.
Kelly, 54, faces charges including racketeering based on kidnapping, sexual exploitation of children, and forced labor; he is also charged with violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transport of people across state lines for sex. The singer has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Angela testified on Monday that she met Kelly in 1991, when she was invited to the singer’s Chicago apartment for a party during her summer break before her sophomore year of high school.
During that get-together, Angela said, Kelly had a series of “young ladies” enter his room one by one to have some kind of sexual contact with him. When Angela was directed to go into Kelly’s room, the singer told her to “climb on top of him” while other “young ladies in the room” were undressing, she said.
“I was startled. I wasn’t sure of what to do. But I did what he said,” Angela said, adding that she was invited back to Kelly’s apartment the next day.
Angela said she then saw Kelly “every day for quite a few years,” and eventually became the singer’s backup dancer. During that time, she said, Kelly forced her and the other dancers to have sex with him as payment.
“He told us to pay our dues—it was a requirement to be around,” Angela said, adding that he would also say “get me some girls or bring me some new talent.”
In Jan. 1992, Angela said, Kelly introduced her and another back-up dancer to Aaliyah—calling her “the hottest wave coming out of Detroit.” Breaking down on the stand, Angela recalled how Kelly told Aaliyah that the two girls would be working together.
We were “going to give her a street vibe and we were going to be there to be her friends as well,” Angela said, adding that at that first meeting, Kelly admitted that it was Aaliyah’s birthday and she had just turned 13.
“She was his protégé,” Angela said, adding that she saw Aayliah work with Kelly on her first album, the notoriously titled, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.”
Months later, during one of Kelly’s tours, Angela said, she learned something far more sinister.
She told jurors she accidentally walked in on Kelly and Aaliyah in the back of his tour bus while they were on a stop in Washington, D.C. Angela said that she never confronted Kelly about what she saw.
During the tour stop, Angela said that Kelly had gotten mad at her several times, once for going into a pool with Aaliyah and some other backup dancers. Another time, she said, Kelly grew enraged at the young girls for leaving the hotel without his permission.
“Robert told all of us we would have to put out. It was dues time,” she said, noting to jurors that she eventually escaped a cycle of abuse.
The witness said she stopped working for Kelly in the “mid 1990s”—and never spoke out about the sexual violence until Monday.
“I was embarrassed. I never wanted anyone to know I was in that situation. At all,” she said.
Several other women have said they were sexually assaulted by Kelly, including one accuser who said she was assaulted by him after being locked in his studio for days. After the assault, she told jurors, she was threatened by one of Kelly’s associates to stay quiet and not to “fuck with Mr. Kelly.”
The woman, identified on the stand as Sonja, told jurors on Thursday that in 2003 she traveled to Chicago to interview Kelly while she was a 21-year-old intern at a Salt Lake City radio station. When she arrived, Sonja said, Kelly’s associates made her sign an NDA before locking her in a room at the studio for “three or four days” without food or water. When she finally got something to eat, she immediately became “extremely full and tired,” she said.
Just after she woke up, Sonja said, she saw Kelly in the corner of the room “doing up his pants”—and noticed her underwear resting on an armchair. “I was sexually assaulted. There was something in me that wasn’t invited,” she said.
Another accuser told jurors that Kelly forced her to have sex in a Miami dressing room after one of his shows in September 1994—when she was just 17 years old.
The alleged assault occurred just two days after Kelly’s secret marriage to Aaliyah. In Feb. 1996, Aaliyah’s marriage to Kelly was annulled by her parents.
Kelly also allegedly preyed on at least two John Does when they were minors, including “Louis,” who told jurors he met the singer at a Chicago McDonald’s drive-thru in 2006. He said that during his over 10-year relationship with Kelly, which began when he was 17, the singer sexually assaulted him multiple times after promising to help with his music career.
The second John Doe, whom Kelly met when he was 16 or 17, was also allegedly forced to have filmed sex with the singer and several of his girlfriends. Kelly is not charged for the alleged crimes against the two males.
Yesterday was the 15th day of the trial.