Thursday Aug 19, 2021
A key prosecution witness against R. Kelly at his sex abuse trial testified on Thursday that the R&B singer videotaped their sexual activity when she was 16 and insisted she dress like a Girl Scout.
Jerhonda Pace, 28, appeared for her second day on the witness stand, as the first of many prosecution witnesses expected to testify in Brooklyn federal court against the 54-year-old Kelly.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment accusing him of dominating and demanding absolute commitment from women and girls he abused in a two-decade racketeering scheme.
Prosecutors said the three-time Grammy winner, whose songs include "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Bump N' Grind," used an entourage of managers, bodyguards and others to recruit victims, and threatened to blackmail them if they fled.
Pace is one of six alleged victims named in the indictment.
Four, including Pace and the late singer Aaliyah, were minors at the time of the alleged abuse.
Pace testified that she had met Kelly when she was 14 and became subject to his abuse two years later, with Kelly admonishing her to tell everyone she was 19.
She said the abuse included being required to abide by "Rob's rules," including that she get permission to go to the bathroom, acknowledge Kelly when he entered a room and refer to Kelly as "Daddy."
Pace told Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes on Thursday that Kelly sometimes wanted her to put her hair up in pigtails for their encounters and "dress like a Girl Scout."
On cross-examination, Deveraux Cannick, a lawyer for Kelly, tried to show Kelly did not realize Pace was underage, despite her testifying she showed him an ID card listing her age as 16.
Pace admitted on Thursday to signing a settlement agreement with Kelly that said she had not shown him the card.
"I didn't see the agreement before I signed it," she said.
Defense lawyers have argued in court papers and at trial that Kelly is being victimized by former fans bent on revenge because their relationships didn't work out as they had planned.
The trial is the culmination of years of suspicions and accusations against Kelly, many discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," and nearly four years after the start of the #MeToo era.
Other female accusers and at least one male accuser are expected to testify for the government, some using only their first names. Kelly could face life in prison if convicted. He also faces sex-related criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota.