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R. Kelly’s defense has called loyalists to the stand, including a disgraced former cop who was allegedly in the star’s apartment the first time he sexually abused Aaliyah, but the singer won’t be testifying on his own behalf.
Following four and a half weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses, the prosecution rested its case on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Later that day, the defense began its case, calling several of Kelly’s allies to the stand.
However, the 54-year-old “Ignition” singer will not be testifying in his own defense, Reuters reported on Wednesday. He announced his intention not to testify after five witnesses were called to testify by his attorneys over a two-day period.
"No, ma'am," Kelly told U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly when she asked him if he would testify, according to Reuters.
His defense is expected to wrap up their arguments on Wednesday, and jurors may begin deliberating as early as Thursday.
Kelly’s childhood friend Larry Hood was one of the witnesses who testified for the defense. He told the courtroom that he never saw Kelly acting inappropriately with underage girls. In addition to being the star’s pal, he was also a Chicago police officer in the early 2000s.
“No, sir,” Hood testified when asked by a defense attorney if he ever saw Kelly lock another person in a room. “As a police officer, I would have had to take action against that.”
During cross-examination, prosecutors brought up that the police department fired him in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to a counterfeit money case, the Associated Press reports.
He also testified that he met Aaliyah when she was around 12 or 13 according to BuzzFeedNews. He said that he saw her and her “little friends” around Kelly.
A former backup dancer who was identified as Angela had testified for the prosecution that Hood was in Kelly’s Chicago apartment when the singer first sexually abused Aaliyah in 1991, according to BuzzFeedNews. Angela said she and three other girls were present and all had sexual contact with Kelly while Hood was in the next room. Angela said she was about 14 or 15 when she began being sexually abused.
Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Haughton, is identified as "Jane Doe #1" in Kelly’s federal trial. She died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001 at the age of 22. Prosecutors say she was one of the many women and men that Kelly abused over a nearly two-decade time frame. They allege he led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and underage individuals for his twisted sexual desires.
Kelly has vehemently denied all allegations against him and his defense has described most of his accusers as groupies who only started accusing him of abuse following the #MeToo movement. He was previously accused of child pornography in Chicago in 2002, which he was ultimately acquitted of in 2008. In addition to the Brooklyn charges, Kelly is also accused of producing child pornography and destroying evidence in a separate case in Illinois.
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