NEW YORK — The second week of the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial in New York Metropolis proved to be an train by prosecutors to color the “I Imagine I Can Fly” R&B star as a man-child management freak and a compulsive intercourse offender who exploited susceptible victims method lower than half his age whereas ordering them to name him “Daddy.”
Protection attorneys for the now 54-year-old entertainer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, countered by looking for to painting the accusers as mendacity opportunists making an attempt to leverage Kelly’s fame.
Listed below are snapshots from week two of the case:
Two Kelly accusers, each testifying with out revealing their true identities, mentioned that at age 17 they sought his assist launching their music careers, or these of others. However Kelly, they mentioned, solely feigned curiosity.
One informed the jury Kelly invited her and a pal to his studio to listen to the pal sing. However he shortly misplaced endurance as a result of “he wasn’t thrilled about my mother being with us,” she mentioned.
One other witness who mentioned she had formal coaching as a performer received a bit additional with Kelly — or so it appeared. Her edge was a professionally made music video for a single she wrote, titled “Liar Liar.”
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Requested for enter, Kelly “mentioned that he did prefer it and that it was cute and that it wasn’t too grown or too attractive,” she mentioned.
However prosecutors say Kelly was the liar. They allege his tutelage was merely a ploy to make the most of the women, main them down a path of sexual degradation.
A prosecutor requested the lady what steps Kelly took to again up guarantees to assist launch her profession.
Lots of Kelly’s draconian tendencies in operating an empire headquartered in customized mansions and music studios had been detailed by a former worker named Tom Arnold. One instance was a failed try to arrange a 2011 journey to Disney World for Kelly’s entourage that included, as at all times, “feminine friends.”
Arnold was ordered to tug the journey off on quick discover, reserving resort rooms, arranging transportation and hiring a VIP tour information for the theme park. He succeeded on the first two duties. He ran right into a glitch on the third.
Any time Kelly visited the Magic Kingdom, there was an edict that he “wanted a girl to be the information,” Arnold informed the jury. Nonetheless this time, the one individual out there was a person. The witness mentioned when his boss arrived, he abruptly canceled the outing and despatched everybody residence.
Arnold mentioned his spouse observed his subsequent paycheck was docked every week’s pay — $1,500 — as an obvious “superb” for the transgression. Quitting his job with Kelly was the one possibility, he mentioned.
“At that time, I wasn’t comfortable, my spouse wasn’t comfortable and Rob wasn’t comfortable,” he mentioned.
A lot of the testimony of a key accuser targeted on a tug of battle between her dad and mom and R. Kelly.
The girl testified that her dad and mom had at first inspired her relationship with Kelly and even pitched concepts for their very own enterprise ventures with him. She conceded on cross-examination that one thought was to market an R. Kelly-themed intercourse toy. Even for him, that went too far, she mentioned.
Kelly “confided in me later it was not one thing he might ever do,” she mentioned.
A complication for the lady was that, effectively earlier than the trial, she had finished an interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” the place she expressed her devotion to Kelly and disavowed her dad and mom. She referred to as her father “a manipulative liar” for suggesting she’d been brainwashed.
However on the witness stand, the lady claimed her statements had been orchestrated by Kelly to provide him cowl.
She mentioned behind the scenes, he as soon as “pulled out an iPad and he informed me to make a video saying that my father had molested me.”
In one in all week’s extra dramatic moments, Assistant U.S. Lawyer Elizabeth Geddes attacked the protection tactic of asking the witness about “all types of issues that your dad and mom did.” The retort took the type of a relentless collection of questions of her personal — remodeled a protection objection — geared toward refocusing jurors on probably the most disturbing allegations in opposition to Kelly.
Amongst them: “Who uncovered you to a sexually transmitted illness with out your consent, your dad and mom or the defendant?” “Who had sexual contact with you, together with sexual activity with you, once you had been 17 years outdated, your dad and mom or the defendant?” and “Who made you movie movies of you participating in degrading conduct, together with smearing and consuming feces, your dad and mom or the defendant?”
In a delicate voice, she responded every time: “The defendant.”
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