After several days of testimony from women claiming they were groomed and sexually abused by R Kelly, a man took the witness stand at Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial in New York on Monday to say the R&B star exploited him in the same way when he was a high-school student.
Taking the stand in federal court in Brooklyn without using his real name, the witness told a jury how Kelly lured him to his Chicago-area home in 2007 with offers of helping his music career.
Kelly asked the alleged victim, then 17, “what I was willing to do for music”, the witness said. He replied, “I’ll carry your bags … Anything you need, I’ll be willing to do.”
“That’s not it. That’s not it,” he said Kelly responded before asking if he ever fantasized about sex with men. He described how Kelly then “crawled down on his knees and proceeded to give me oral sex” even though “I wasn’t into it”.
Afterward, “he told me to keep [the encounter] between him and me”, the witness said.
In a later episode, Kelly “snapped his fingers three times” to summon a naked girl from under a boxing ring to give Kelly and the witness oral sex, the man told the jury.
He kept seeing Kelly, he said, because “I really wanted to make it in the music industry”.
Kelly, 54, has repeatedly denied accusations that he preyed on victims during a 30-year career highlighted by his 1996 mega-hit I Believe I Can Fly. His lawyers have portrayed his accusers as groupies who are lying about their relationships with him.
Earlier on Monday, a woman testified that Kelly sexually assaulted her at age 17 following a performance in Miami in 1994. The witness, also testifying without using her real name, claimed Kelly’s cronies took her and a friend to his dressing room where he pulled down her shorts and forced her to have unprotected sex.
“I was in complete shock,” she said. “I didn’t know what to say at all. I basically went blank.”
Afterward, she and her friend “unlocked the door and ran out of there”, she said.
Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick pressed the witness on why, after someone allegedly “raped you”, she waited more than two decades to contact law enforcement.
“Because I didn’t want to feel more shame and trauma,” she said.