Former assistant to R. Kelly has testified against him that she once saw him engage in sexual activity with one of the women he is charged with abusing.
On the 18th day of testimony at Kelly’s trial in federal court in Brooklyn, Cheryl Mack, the mother of music producer London on da Track, said she saw Kelly begin to massage the woman while backstage at a Connecticut concert where he was performing.
“That was kind of my cue to leave,” Mack said. “I was very uncomfortable.” She said that as she left the room, she caught a glimpse of the woman moving her head toward Kelly’s groin.
Mack also said Kelly lost his temper in 2015 after she supposedly ruined a surprise birthday party for former stylist Kash Howard and had her sign an “apology letter” that included false claims she accepted kickbacks from booking agents.
“I apologised out of fear,” Mack said.
Several witnesses have testified that Kelly made them write apology letters, purportedly to absolve him of misconduct.
The disgraced singer, 54, has pleaded not guilty to charges over his alleged grooming and preying on women and girls as far back as the mid-1990s, when he shot to stardom with music including the 1996 smash I Believe I Can Fly.
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, faces one count of racketeering and eight counts of illegally transporting people across state lines for prostitution.
Kelly’s indictment said he abused six women and underage girls, including the singer Aaliyah, who Kelly married illegally in 1994 when she was 15. Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash.
Prosecution witnesses have said Kelly instilled fear as he demanded they follow his stringent rules, including by having women and girls call him “Daddy,” and punished those who disobeyed, including by demanding unwanted sex.
Kelly’s lawyers have tried to portray his accusers as fans who once hoped to capitalise on the singer’s fame but felt jilted, and questioned why they and former employees failed to leave Kelly sooner or go to the police.
Kelly’s defense attorney countered Mack’s testimony by suggesting that she was a veteran in the industry and an adult who knew better than to sign a “fake” letter.
“I wasn’t thinking at all,” Mack told him.
R. Kelly is currently on federal trial in New York on charges of running a criminal enterprise where employees recruited women and girls for him to abuse and sexually assault. The singer has pleaded not guilty to all charges.