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A woman who testified at pop star R. Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn this week told the court that she was never a fan of the pop star but was still ensnared in his alleged sex trafficking ring and ultimately infected with herpes.
The witness, identified as ”Faith” in the courtroom, was 19 years old in 2017 when her half-sister invited her to attend a Kelly concert in San Antonio. The witness told the court that her sister was a fan of the Grammy-winning artist’s music, but added, “I was not.” They were invited to a backstage after-party and a brief relationship with the 54-year-old singer ensued that ended with ”Faith” contracting the sexually transmitted infection, she told the court.
During their relationship, Kelly would fly the young woman to his concerts and pay for hotel rooms, where he would demand sex, she said; these sexual demands also extended to other locations, according to her testimony.
When ”Faith” was asked on the stand by prosecutors if Kelly wore condoms when they had sex, the witness replied, “No, he did not.” The jury heard earlier from Kelly’s personal physician of 25 years, Kris McGrath, who said he was treated for herpes for several years.
Kelly, a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling singer has been jailed since he was indicted on charges that allege he was the leader of an enterprise of staffers who helped him recruit young women and girls for sex. In July, Kelly was moved from a Chicago jail to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn before his trial began on August 18. The charges involve six different women and girls, who aren't named in court filings. "Faith" is one of the six complaining witnesses; the jury has heard from five of them so far.
On Monday a man testified under the pseudonym “Louis,” telling jurors that he met the “Ignition” singer in 2006 at a McDonald’s in the Chicago area, where he worked when he was a 17-year-old aspiring rapper. He claimed that the singer gave him his phone number and later performed a sex act on him at his home.
The man said that Kelly asked him “what I was willing to do for music,” to which he said he replied, “I’ll carry your bags. ... Anything you need, I’ll be willing to do.”
“Louis” testified that he had multiple sexual encounters with Kelly and that the singer recorded some of the incidents. He also recounted an incident in which Kelly brought him out to a workout area in a garage. He claimed Kelly “snapped his fingers two times" before a young woman crawled out from under a boxing ring then performed sexual acts on Kelly.
“Louis” was charged in 2020 by federal prosecutors with attempting to bribe a witness to stop cooperating with the state in the case against Kelly. He testified that he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted bribery and entered into a cooperation agreement with prosecutors as a result. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
The singer is not facing any charges in connection with the allegations from “Louis” and another testifying witness, “Addie,” as the time of their alleged sexual assaults falls outside the statutes of limitation. Prosecutors have called them to testify to show a pattern in Kelly’s alleged abuse.
Earlier in the trial, prosecutors put other alleged victims on the stand, including "Jane," who testified last week that Kelly made his multiple girlfriends practice answering questions about him so he could defend himself when questioned in a now-notorious interview with CBS News anchor Gail King. Accuser Jerhonda Johnson Pace said she also contracted herpes from Kelly and that he recorded their sex sessions then made her view them as he gave her advice on “improvements.”
Kelly’s defense team has contested that his accusers were the singer’s groupies and that they are lying about the coercive nature of their relationships with their client.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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