The second day of R. Kelly’s federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn has doubled down on the shocking claims, as the first of the prosecution’s witnesses have begun to testify.
After assistant U.S. attorney Maria Cruz Melendez delved into the singer’s marriage to Aaliyah, Jerhonda Pace, a key witness, testified that Kelly videotaped their sexual activity when she was 16 and insisted she dress like a Girl Scout. The 28-year-old, who is referred to as “Jane Doe 4” in court documents, said Kelly was sexually and physically abused when she was 16.
“I did it. With nine days until my due date,” a very pregnant Pace posted on Instagram after Wednesday’s hearing. “We are one step closer to justice.”
It is the first time where one of his direct accusers has taken the stand in a criminal case against him. While some allegations span back almost 30 years, there have been attempts at deterring others to speak out against the maligned R&B performer.
Pace told the Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes on Thursday, Aug. 19, that Kelly sometimes wanted her to put her hair up into pigtails for their encounters and “dress like a Girl Scout.”
Deveraux Cannick, who cross-examined Pace as Kelly’s lawyer, argued that their client did not realize Pace was underage, despite the latter testifying that she showed him an ID card listing her age as 16.
In the back-and-forth, Pace admitted she signed 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.
Kelly, 54, 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.
If convicted, the “I Believe I Can Fly” Grammy winner could face 10 years to life in prison.
Pace is one of six alleged victims named in the indictment.
Four, including Pace and the late singer Aaliyah, were underaged minors at the time of the alleged abuse. Pace also shared in her testimony that Kelly and she met when she was 14, succumbing to his subjugation two years later.
Through “Rob’s rules,” she had to tell everyone she was 19, get permission from him to use the restroom, acknowledge and call Kelly “Daddy” whenever he entered a room.
Defense lawyers have argued in court documents and in front of the judge and jury that Kelly is “being victimized by former fans bent on revenge” and that the trial is because their relationships didn’t work out as they had planned.
In addition to the possibility of spending life behind bars, Kelly faces sex-related criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota.