The 37-year-old woman, who testified under the pseudonym Jane, only looked at Kelly once during her testimony when asked to identify him. Kelly kept his eyes on the defense table the entire time she was on the stand. Prosecutors showed several tapes in which Jane testified that Kelly had sexual acts with her. At times Jane began to cry during her time on the stand.
“How old were you when the sexual acts shown on those tapes took place?” asked Assistant US Attorney Jeannice Appenteng.
“14,” Jane confirmed.
Jane testified that Kelly began having sexual acts with her when she was 14 and had intercourse with her when she was 15 “hundreds of times” before she was 18.
Jane is one of five minors that prosecutors say Kelly sexually abused in the late 1990s, and that he made explicit videos with four of them. Kelly faces charges including producing and receiving child pornography, soliciting minors for criminal sexual activity and obstruction. He was not guilty.
His co-defendants include Derrel McDavid, the singer’s former business manager and accountant, who faces charges of child pornography and obstruction. Milton “June” Brown, Kelly’s former assistant, faces one count of conspiracy to obtain child pornography. McDavid and Brown have each pleaded not guilty.
Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, asked jurors during opening statements Wednesday to question why Jane is now coming forward and changing her testimony from the previous two decades.
“For the last 22 years she has adamantly denied that it was her in that video. She denied it until the criminal investigation. She denied it repeatedly to prosecutors, she denied it to social workers, she denied it to the police. She denied it under oath to a grand jury,” Bonjean said Wednesday .
On the witness stand Thursday, Jane said she was testifying under immunity because she lied under oath to a 2002 grand jury about her sexual relationship with Kelly and whether she appeared with him in explicit videos.
“If I correct my mistakes by telling the truth, I won’t be prosecuted,” Jane testified.
As a young teenager, Jane toured the world with a Christian hip-hop group whose members were her cousins. Prosecutors asked her not to name the group to protect her identity.
“I was living my dream,” Jane testified.
Her aunt, professionally known as Sparkle, worked with and was romantically involved with R. Kelly. It was Sparkle who introduced Jane Kelly when Jane was 12 or 13 years old at a gospel concert her church held, she testified. A few weeks later, Kelly came to one of her group’s concerts.
“He was telling me what a great job I did,” Jane testified. “I felt successful. I felt happy.”
Shortly after they met, Jane said she started spending more time with Kelly and Sparkle. She watched as Kelly and Sparkle recorded music and talked to Kelly about basketball and music. Jane testified that she was 13 when Sparkle suggested Jane ask Kelly to play a bigger role in her life.
“She told me I should ask him to be my godfather. Sparkle is expected to testify later in the trial.
Jane said Kelly “laughed” and agreed to be her godfather, and within weeks their relationship became sexual. Kelly spoke to her on the phone asking “what color panties you’re wearing” and “about how my breasts are growing” and that “I have to wear bras,” Jane testified.
When Kelly became her godfather, Jane testified that her parents felt comfortable letting her stay at his house overnight or even for the weekend, without her parents or aunt present.
“They would basically drop me off and then leave,” Jane testified.
Records of sexual acts
Jane testified that she was 14 years old when Kelly’s sexualized comments became actions. She said that one night while they were in his recording studio, Kelly began touching her breasts and vaginal area while touching himself. The touching, she testified, quickly turned into oral sex and other sexual acts, and she lost her virginity to him when she was 15.
Jane spoke quietly when Appenteng asked her to describe one act shown in the video.
“What part of your body did he pee on?” Appenteng asked.
“My vagina,” Jane said softly.
Bonjean and McDavid’s attorney repeatedly objected to prosecutors admitting the tapes into evidence. They questioned the authenticity of the videos and the sequence by which the videos were transferred in the 20 years since they were released. Retired Chicago police detective Daniel Everett, who investigated one of the tapes in 2002, testified Thursday that he did not know where the original multi-recording VHS tape was.
“I don’t know where it is today,” Everett testified.
Jane testified that after the tapes were taken, they were sometimes stored in a gym bag or a wood-paneled room in Kelly’s former home, which she called the “log house” area. She testified that she sometimes saw Brown carrying a bag filled with records.
Prosecutors did not play the tapes in court Thursday, but warned jurors during opening statements that they would play portions of the videos during the trial and that they were “difficult to watch.”
Lying to the authorities
When the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services began investigating allegations that Kelly had a sexual relationship with Jane in April 2000, when she was 15, Jane testified that she denied the relationship. She also testified that she later denied having a sexual relationship with Kelly to Chicago police investigators.
Jane testified Thursday that she denied to her parents that she had had a sexual relationship with Kelly, but after reports of the existence of a tape of the couple engaged in sexual acts began to emerge in 2002, she said that Kelly, Jane and her the parents had a meeting where Kelly met. he admitted that he had a sexual relationship with their daughter.
Jane and her father were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in 2002. Jane testified that she had spoken to Kelly about “loyalty” and “denying our relationship and the sex tape” before appearing before the grand jury.
Jane testified that she lied to a grand jury in 2002 when she denied having a sexual relationship and appearing in sex videos with the singer.
“And why were you false?” Appenteng asked.
“Because I was afraid of exposing Robert. Because I was afraid of what might happen to my parents. I also didn’t want that person to be me,” Jane testified.
Jane is expected to take the stand again on Friday.
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