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Sparkle, Former Protege Of R. Kelly, Worried About Testifying Against Him Again

Sparkle famously testified against her former mentor during his first child pornography trial, and history may repeat itself.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Sparkle may have testified against R. Kelly during his first child pornography trial, but she doesn’t seem eager to do it again.

R. Kelly, 52, was acquitted on child molestation charges in 2008, amid ongoing controversy surrounding a tape that reportedly showed Kelly sexually assaulting an underage girl. Now, more than 10 years later, Kelly is facing similar accusations, having been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse in February.

Sparkle, whose real name is Stephanie Edwards, testified during Kelly’s first trial and identified Kelly, her former mentor, and her niece as the two people in the explicit video, and she’s worried that she may have to repeat the experience.

“I hope they don’t need me,” she told The New York Times for an interview published Tuesday. “But I have to. I have to see this thing through.”

Sparkle worked with Kelly in the '90s, having been the first artist signed to his record label. They did eventually part ways, and Sparkle went on to become a major player in Kelly’s child pornography trial. It’s an experience she spoke about at length during Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, revealing that the decision to speak out against Kelly led many in her family to cast her out.

This time around, incriminating footage may again play a key role in Kelly’s case. Prosecutors are said to be in possession of as many as three tapes that allegedly show Kelly abusing an underage girl — a girl that Sparkle has identified as her niece, the same teen who was allegedly in the video that became a point of interest during Kelly’s first trial, according to The New York Times. Sparkle has not seen the video, but has seen stills from it, and believes that it is a different video of Kelly and her niece, according to the publication.

Prosecutors claim that Kelly victimized three underage girls and one woman, his former hairdresser who recently came forward to claim that Kelly spit on her and tried to force her into oral sex while she was alone with him to do his hair.

Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and has repeatedly claimed to be innocent.

“I’m fighting for my f--king life,” he said during an interview with “CBS This Morning” last month.