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R. Kelly survivor Azriel Clary said this week that the now-convicted sex trafficker instructed her on what to say when she staunchly defended him back in 2019.
Clary, 23, sat down with Gayle King on Wednesday to explain that Kelly coached her and Joycelyn Savage on what to say during a previous and infamous 2019 King interview. Both claimed to be in a relationship with Kelly at the time and maintained that the other accusers were just in it for money.
Clary told King on “CBS This Morning” this week that she lied “about everything” during that 2019 interview, saying Kelly made her and Savage practice what to say.
"Before that interview, he had us practicing every single day, answering questions […] and if he didn't like our answers, he would tell us exactly what to say and how to say it," she said.
Clary said she felt like the whole situation with Kelly had become “normalized” for her, but in reality, she was isolated from the world. King noted after the interview that Kelly did “unspeakable” things to her, which included “feces.”
Kelly, 54, was found guilty by a federal jury in Brooklyn on Monday for sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking. Clary testified during his trial.
Clary’s parents, Alice Clary and Angelo Clary had publicly accused Kelly of holding their daughter against her will since she was 17 years old. They were prominently featured in the 2019 Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” pleading for their daughter to return home. While she initially defended the singer, Azriel later returned to her family and then accused the singer of abuse on social media.
Earlier this year, as Clary was gearing up to testify against Kelly in federal court, a reported associate of the jailed singer set fire to a vehicle at her home. Kelly Michael Williams pleaded guilty in April to setting fire to an SUV that was parked at her home in June 2020. Federal prosecutors dropped a charge of witness tampering as a result of the guilty plea.
Kelly could face up to life in prison in the recently ended case; sentencing is scheduled for May 4. He also faces separate sex-related trials in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty in those cases.
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