R. Kelly accuser says singer demanded oral sex before granting audition

Brendan Pierson, Reuters

Posted at Aug 24 2021 09:20 AM

R. Kelly appears via video screen from Chicago during a hearing ahead of his August sex abuse trial in New York, U.S., June 17, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. Jane Rosenberg, Reuters
R. Kelly appears via video screen from Chicago during a hearing ahead of his August sex abuse trial in New York, U.S., June 17, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. Jane Rosenberg, Reuters

NEW YORK - A former girlfriend of R. Kelly told jurors at the R&B singer's sex abuse trial on Monday that he pressured her into having oral sex with him when she was 17, when she thought she was meeting him for an audition.

The woman, known in Kelly's indictment as Jane Doe #5, said she met Kelly in his room at a hotel in Orlando, Florida, in 2015 after a member of the singer's entourage gave her his number during a concert.

"I told him I did not come to please him, I came for an audition," Doe testified. But she said Kelly was persistent, saying if he could perform oral sex he would "allow me to audition and take care of me for life."

Prosecutors have said Kelly had sex multiple times with Doe in 2015, when he was 48, and didn't tell her before getting consent that he had contracted herpes.

Doe testified on the fourth day of Kelly's trial in Brooklyn federal court.

Now 54, the singer of "I Believe I Can Fly" and "Bump 'N Grind" has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment describing his alleged abuse of six women and girls, including the late singer Aaliyah.

The trial is expected to last several weeks, and Kelly could face life in prison if convicted.

Kelly also faces sex-related criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota. Many accusations of sex-related misconduct were discussed in the 2019 Lifetime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly."

Doe testified that she met Kelly in 2015 at an Orlando festival, where the singer had paid "a lot of attention" to her during his performance.

She said she hoped he could advance her career, and agreed in a Facetime call to meet at the hotel.

Once there, Doe said Kelly gave her a "small pop kiss" -- his term -- and took her to his room.

She said the sex was interrupted by a knock from police looking for her because her parents couldn't find her, and that a worried Kelly told her to tell police she was 18.

Doe said the police looked at her ID card, which had her real age of 17, but took no action and left. Kelly then resumed having oral sex.

"He did allow me to sing," Doe said. "He seemed very impressed."

Earlier on Monday, Kelly's lawyer Deveraux Cannick tried to discredit another prosecution witness.

Former tour manager Demetrius Smith had testified on Friday that Kelly, fearing he had gotten Aaliyah pregnant, paid a $500 bribe in 1994 in order to get fake ID so he could marry the then-15-year-old Aaliyah.

Asked if Kelly "had anything to do with you bribing anyone" for a marriage license, Smith said "No, he didn't." (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York Writing by Jonathan Stempel Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)