NEW YORK – A witness who accused R. Kelly of sexually abusing her in 2015 when she was an aspiring teen singer returned to the stand Tuesday on the fifth day of the R&B star’s sex-trafficking trial, telling the jury that Kelly forced her to have sex with another man and trained her to defend him in public, even when her defense “wasn’t always truthful.”
The witness, the second accuser to take the stand at Kelly’s trial in federal court in Brooklyn, testified just as “Jane.” Based on court documents and the opening statement by prosecutors, she appears to be Jane Doe #5, one of the six complaining witnesses against Kelly.
The witness identified herself as one of two women living with Kelly at his Chicago Trump Tower condo until the end of 2019. She said she made her first public appearance concerning Kelly when she participated in an interview CBS anchor Gayle King conducted with Kelly. King also interviewed two women identified as Kelly’s live-in girlfriends.
King’s on-camera encounter with Kelly turned out to be shattering for him when he became enraged and dissolved into hysterics, screaming and crying while under King’s questioning about the sexual abuse allegations raised against him in the TV docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”
The witness on Tuesday testified that Kelly made his girlfriends practice answering questions about him in an effort to better defend him. The prosecutor asked her if she was truthful when she was interviewed by King.
“I was not,” she said, adding that Kelly was in the room when the two women spoke to King on camera.
“He did a cough to let us know he was near,” she said. “He was letting us know he was in the room with us.”
She testified that Kelly was “abusive” during her time with him, but she never said that publicly. Would she say it publicly today? Yes, she said. She said she has not had any contact with Kelly since January 2020.
She described ways she said Kelly chastised or punished her for various reasons, including that she was forced to have sex with a man whom Kelly addressed as “Nephew” and Kelly recorded it on an iPad.
“He wanted me to please Nephew the same way I pleased him,” she said. Did she want to have sexual contact with Nephew? “Never,” she said. Why did you? “It was punishment,” she said.
She described having to write groveling letters to Kelly, four of which were admitted into evidence. “These letters would not be acceptable,” she said. “These were apology letters.”
A quote from one of letter says, “As long as I’m apologizing … and accepting my chastisement, you should be happy. … Everything with me is a problem and I’m desperate to make it work. … This isn’t teaching. … I don’t know what more you want from me.” She said Kelly saw “chastising” as teaching.
On Monday, the witness, now 23, said Kelly pressured her for sex as the price of an audition and a promise to help her achieve a singing career. She said she initially told Kelly she was 18, but she was really 17 at the time.
She wept when she testified that she contracted herpes after sex with Kelly. She said he hadn’t disclosed he had a sexually transmitted disease.
“This man purposely gave me something he knew he had,” she said of Kelly, whose charges include knowingly infecting some of his accusers with a sexually transmitted disease.
Witness says R. Kelly made her call him ‘daddy,’ details abuse allegations
She said she met Kelly during his Black Panties tour and testified that Kelly later recorded their sexual encounters and coerced her into getting an abortion in 2017.
The witness also testified about Kelly’s abuse toward her, including allegedly assaulting her with a shoe for texting a friend and allegedly slapping her across the face when she revealed to him that she was underage.
On cross-examination by defense attorney Deveraux Cannick, the witness said she moved in with Kelly in 2015, when she was still a junior in high school, and his alleged abuse began a few months later.
“There was a time where … a time he slapped me open palm,” she said. After that, she said, Kelly sent her home. Did she tell her parents what happened? “I did not, no,” she said.
One time she allegedly had sex with Kelly in a hotel in Orlando; she said police came into the room afterward and asked her age. She told them she was 18. Did she tell the police she had been “violated” by Kelly, Cannick asked?
No, she said. She was asked if she subsequently flew back to meet him in California. “I did, yes,” she said. How soon? “Most likely the next weekend,” she said.
The defense introduced a letter she wrote to Kelly after they separated, explaining she could no longer be so closely associated with him. “I will have to support you privately, not publicly,” the letter said. “And I will always love and support you, Bear. … Just know I’m always here, I have no bad feelings, Bear.”
In another letter introduced as evidence, she recalled happy times she had with Kelly. “I used to happily wait” on Kelly at home after he finished meetings, she wrote. She remembers “when we carved our initials into the table.” But she couldn’t remember when she wrote the letter, if it was before “Surviving R. Kelly” aired in January 2019 or after.
The witness said she couldn’t remember when asked other questions, or her answers contradicted what she told prosecutors in pre-trial interviews. She said Kelly asked her to watch only him when she went to the gym to watch him play basketball. How did she do that? The witness said she didn’t know.
“I’d go by the shoes,” she said, but couldn’t identify the brand or the color of Kelly’s shoes. “Any night could be a different kind of shoes … he has over 1,000,” she said.
Did Kelly masturbate while she sang? She couldn’t recall but Cannick produced the witness’ interview with prosecutors in which she said that.
She said Kelly made her call him “daddy” almost immediately, but she acknowledged under questioning that she also called him “papa bear” and he would call her “mama bear.”
The witness said a number of women lived with her and Kelly in his homes in Atlanta and Chicago over the years, and they would eat together, go to the movies together and go to the park together.
She said one time Kelly rented a house in California for Christmas and took videos of the holiday celebrations. Did she remember Kelly giving his female friends $10,000 each as presents? Yes, she said.
The witness said she met Kelly at one of his concerts where she danced on a speaker. She said her mother was eager to approach Kelly to help her daughter’s singing career, even texting him and pretending to be the teenager.
Day 4 of R Kelly trial: Woman testifies she was coerced into abortion, pressed for sex before audition
What’s happened in the R. Kelly trial so far?
Kelly, 54, is facing multiple charges of sex-trafficking and racketeering dating back decades and involving six women. Jane Doe #5 is one of those complaining witnesses.
Jerhonda Johnson Pace, another complaining witness and the first Kelly accuser to testify at the trial (she has previously shared her story publicly), said she had sex with the singer when she was 16, although she initially told him she was 19, which is over the age of consent.
Pace testified she had to be granted permission by the singer to use the bathroom and that Kelly sometimes recorded their frequent sex sessions and would later show the recordings to her to point out where she could use “improvement.” She said she “ended up contracting herpes” while she was with Kelly in 2009.
Kelly’s primary care doctor, Kris McGrath, also testified under subpoena that he was Kelly’s doctor for 25 years until 2019. McGrath said he diagnosed Kelly with genital herpes, informed the star and told him to tell his sexual partners. He said he’d been prescribing Valtrex for Kelly since at least 2007, but could not say specifically when he concluded Kelly actually had herpes.
Kelly’s former assistant and tour manager, Demetrius Smith, testified under subpoena and immunity from prosecution that he helped facilitate Kelly’s illegal 1994 marriage to the late singer Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time.
First week of R. Kelly trial: Details spilled on fake ID obtained for 15-year-old Aaliyah to illicitly marry singer
Aaliyah is one of six women named by the prosecution in its sex-trafficking and racketeering charges against Kelly.
The government accuses Kelly of leading “a criminal enterprise” of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped Kelly to recruit women and underage girls for sex and pornography, and to cross state lines for that purpose.
He is also accused in the two-year-old indictment of bribery, kidnapping, forced labor, producing child pornography and knowingly infecting some victims with a sexually transmitted disease.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
What to expect: R. Kelly faces his first trial on sex-trafficking charges
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: R. Kelly trial: Woman testifies he forced sex with another man