R Kelly’s first male accuser has taken the stand at the singer’s trial in New York, alleging that the star sexually assaulted him as a teenager.
Kelly is currently on trial for nine charges – one of racketeering and eight violations of the Mann Act, which criminalises the transportation of any woman or girl across state lines for “immoral” purposes, such as illegal sexual activity. He has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in this case.
As the trial continued today (August 30) in Brooklyn, the alleged male victim of Kelly took to the stand. He said he had met the singer around 2006 when he was working at a McDonald’s in the Chicago area and that Kelly had given him and a colleague his number. His mother is said to have later called Kelly in the hopes that he would help her son with his music and that the star had invited the family to a party at his mansion, the New York Times reports.
The man, who is using the pseudonym Louis, was 17 at the time and had ambitions to become a rapper. He claimed he had travelled to Kelly’s studio twice after the party to record music with him. On one occasion Kelly is alleged to have asked him “what I was willing to do for music”, according to the Guardian.
The court heard that Louis replied: “I’ll carry your bags […] Anything you need, I’ll be willing to do.” He claimed that Kelly then responded, “That’s not it. That’s not it”, before asking if he had ever fantasised about having sex with men. He alleged that the singer had then gotten “down on his knees and proceeded to give me oral sex” and afterwards told the man to keep the incident “between him and me”. He added that Kelly had said: “We’re family now. We’re brothers.”
He claimed on another occasion at the singer’s home that Kelly had “snapped his fingers three times” and a naked girl appeared from under a boxing ring to give both him and the man oral sex. He also alleged that Kelly had recorded their sexual encounters and told him to refer to him as “daddy”. He added that he had kept meeting up with Kelly because he “really wanted to make it in the music industry”.
A woman named Addie also testified against Kelly on Monday, claiming that the singer had sexually assaulted her backstage at a concert two days after he had illegally married Aaliyah. Addie said Kelly had invited her and a friend backstage to get his autograph at the show in September 1994 when they were 17.
The court heard that two men “who looked like bouncers” took the friends to a dressing room where they met Kelly, who gave Addie his hotel room number and told her to come audition for him. She claimed that he then told the two girls that he wanted to play “a game” to see “who could kiss better” and kissed both girls.
Addie, who is now 44, alleged that Kelly then “started getting a little more aggressive” and held her wrists, pulled down her clothes and had unprotected intercourse with her. She said her friend had wanted her to report the singer to the police but that, as an aspiring musician, she was scared she would be “blacklisted” from the industry. “I didn’t even know if they would believe me,” she added. “I didn’t want to be victim-shamed.”
Kelly’s trial has been delayed multiple times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. If the singer is found guilty, he could face 10-years-to-life in prison. He is also concurrently facing other sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.