September 1, 2021
By Tyler Clifford
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A woman who accuses R. Kelly of sexually abusing her told jurors at his racketeering trial on Wednesday that she was unnerved when she saw a gun near where the R&B singer forced her to perform oral sex on him.
In her second day of testimony, the woman, who identified herself as Faith, said the Los Angeles encounter took place in January 2018, near the end of an 11-month relationship during which Kelly flew her to concerts or recording studios and trained her to please him sexually.
Faith, who said she was 19 when she met the then-50-year-old Kelly at a San Antonio concert in March 2017, testified that the gun left her “intimidated” and fearful of what would happen if she tried to leave.
“I wasn’t even going to step out of line,” she told the jury of seven men and five women in Brooklyn federal court.
Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been on trial since Aug. 18 for running what prosecutors called a decades-long scheme targeting women and girls for sex, with the help of employees and assistants in his entourage.
Known for the 1996 Grammy-winning song “I Believe I Can Fly,” the 54-year-old Kelly has pleaded not guilty to one racketeering count and eight counts of violating an interstate sex trafficking law.
Faith said her relationship with Kelly ended in February 2018 at a hotel in Manhattan, where she resisted his desire for sex and made it physically difficult for him to attempt intercourse.
“I know I had pissed him off,” Faith said.
Soon after returning home to Texas, Faith said she tested positive for type-1 herpes.
She blamed Kelly, and said he would not discuss it on a later phone call, after she had hired a lawyer.
“I knew it was him,” Faith said.
Kelly’s indictment describes the alleged mistreatment of six women and girls, including the late singer Aaliyah. A male accuser has also said Kelly sexually abused him.
Several accusers, including Faith, and former employees have testified that Kelly demanded strict obedience to his rules even as he preyed on victims, including aspiring singers who hoped he could advance their own music careers.
Coronavirus protocols have required the press and public to watch the trial in overflow courtrooms with video feeds.
Before Wednesday’s testimony, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Shihata said negative comments had been made on Tuesday in an overflow courtroom, with one person calling a witness a “stupid bitch.”
Kelly’s lawyers declined to comment when asked if it wanted to respond.
Many sexual abuse accusations against Kelly were discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” Kelly also faces sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)
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