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R Kelly accuser tells court singer recorded sexual encounters and made her dress up

Written by on 19/08/2021

A woman accusing R&B singer R Kelly of abuse has told a court he would often record their sexual encounters and sometimes ordered her to “dress like a Girl Scout”.

Jerhonda Pace, who was the first accuser to begin giving evidence during the opening of the trial in New York, returned to continue her testimony on Thursday – after previously telling the jury the star was aware she was 16 and a virgin when she first went to his home in 2010.

She said Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, would demand she wear pigtails and “dress like a Girl Scout” on occasion during sexual encounters, which he often videotaped.

Jerhonda Pace, who is pregnant, takes the oath as singer R Kelly attends Brooklyn's Federal District Court during the start of his trial in New York on 18 August 2021. Pic: REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
Image: No cameras are allowed in court, but court sketches show Jerhonda Pace giving evidence as Kelly watched during the first day of the trial

On cross-examination, one of the singer’s defence attorneys, Deveraux Cannick, suggested Ms Pace had mixed up dates for when she was involved with him and that it was she who had deceived the star, by lying about herself.

“You were in fact stalking him, right?” Mr Cannick asked. “That is not right,” Ms Pace responded.

Prosecutors showed jurors screenshots from the woman’s phone showing several communications with Kelly in January 2010, including a text from him reading, “Please call”. There was also a photo of her with “Rob” tattooed to her chest – which she said she had since covered up “with a black heart”.

This is the second day of Kelly’s trial, with both the prosecution and the defence giving their opening statements on Wednesday.

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Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez told the court the case was about a “predator” who used his fame to get “access to girls, boys and young women”, while defence lawyer Nicole Blank Becker argued his accusers had been “consenting” and enjoyed the “notoriety of being able to tell their friends that they were with a superstar”.

Set to last for about a month, the trial at Brooklyn Federal Court is expected to include testimonies from several female accusers and at least one male accuser, with some allegations going back 20 years.

In 2008, Kelly went on trial in Illinois facing child pornography charges, but was acquitted.

The 54-year-old three-time Grammy winner, whose hits include I Believe I Can Fly, Bump ‘N’ Grind, She’s Got That Vibe and Ignition, has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery, and strongly denied any wrongdoing.

He could face years in prison if he is found guilty. However, the New York case is only part of the legal issues the singer is facing, with sex abuse charges brought in Illinois and Minnesota, too – to which he has also pleaded not guilty.

 Sky News

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