R Kelly’s former girlfriend-turned-accuser testified at his federal racketeering trial in New York on Monday that when she was just 17 years old, the R&B star agreed to audition her in his hotel room if she offered him sexual relief.
‘I just wanted to sing,’ said the witness for the prosecution, who identified herself by the pseudonym ‘Zel.’
DailyMail.com is not revealing the accuser’s real name because she claims to be the victim of sexual misconduct. She was named in Kelly’s indictment as ‘Jane Doe No 5.’
The woman broke down in sobs when she also claimed that she contracted herpes after having sex with Kelly. She said he hadn’t disclosed he had a sexually transmitted disease.
‘Zel,’ now 23, told the jury in Federal District Court in Brooklyn that during that initial encounter in Orlando in 2015, Kelly ended up performing oral sex on her, even though she said she had told the I Believe I Can Fly singer she was against it.
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R Kelly accuser ‘Jane Doe No 5,’ also known as ‘Zel,’ wipes tears while testifying against the singer at his federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn on Monday
‘Zel,’ now 23 and a singer, told the court Kelly *pressured her into having oral sex when he came to his hotel room for an audition in 2015
‘I told him I did not come to please him, I came for an audition,’ the witness said from the stand. 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.’
‘Zel’ was 17 years old at the time but lied to Kelly that she was 18, according to her testimony, reported the New York Times.
THE CHARGES R. KELLY IS ON TRIAL FOR IN NEW YORK:
R. Kelly is standing trial in Brooklyn federal court accused of being the ringleader of a sex ring involving women and underage girls and boys.
The charges were first brought in a five-count superseding indictment in Brooklyn federal court in July 2019.
In March 2020, he was slapped with additional charges upgrading the case to a nine-count indictment.
The charges relate to allegations involving six alleged victims – five women named as Jane Does in the indictment and the singer Aaliyah. These charges are:
ONE COUNT OF RACKETEERING
The racketeering charge includes 14 underlying acts including: one act of bribery, three acts of sexual exploitation of a child, one act of kidnapping, three acts of forced labor and six acts of violating the Mann Act.
Racketeering charges are used where there is an ‘enterprise’, mob or mafia running organized crime operations.
In this case, Kelly is accused of running a racketeering ‘enterprise’ for two decades made up of his ‘inner circle’ of managers, bodyguards and other employees who would help him recruit women, girls and boys for him to sexually exploit and traffic them around the US.
To convict Kelly on the racketeering charge, he must be found guilty of at least two of the 14 acts.
EIGHT COUNTS OF VIOLATING THE MANN ACT
The Mann Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to traffic people across state lines for prostitution or illegal sexual activity.
Four of these charges relate to an incident involving Jane Doe #5 in 2015 while the other four involve Jane Doe #6 in separate incidents in May 2017 and February 2018.
Three of these charges involve Kelly allegedly exposing the two women to herpes without informing them.
Prosecutors have said Kelly had sex multiple times with ‘Zel’ in 2015, when he was 48, and didn’t tell her before getting consent that he had contracted herpes.
‘Zel’ testified on the fourth day of Kelly’s racketeering trial in Brooklyn.
Kelly, now 54, has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment describing his alleged abuse of six women and girls, including the late singer Aaliyah.
The federal 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.’
‘Zel’ 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 and had a staffer pass a note to her with his phone number written on it.
She said she hoped he could advance her career, and agreed in a Facetime call to meet at the Dolphin Hotel in Orlando.
Once there, ‘Zel’ said Kelly gave her a ‘small pop kiss’ — his term — and took her to his room, where he allegedly convinced her to undress and walk back and forth in the nude, before performing oral sex on her.
‘I didn’t necessarily care for that,’ she told the court. ‘I just wanted to sing.’
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.
‘Zel’ said the police looked at her ID card, which had her real age of 17, but took no action and left, after offering their security services to Kelly next time he was in town. Kelly then resumed having oral sex.
‘He did allow me to sing,’ ‘Zel’ said. ‘He seemed very impressed.’
The teen soon began traveling to Kelly’s performances at his expense. She said the singer told her how to dress, instructed her to call him ‘Daddy’ and expected her to seek him permission before making any move, reported the New York Daily News.
Last week, a jury heard similar testimony from the trial’s first witness, who described being a 16-year-old virgin when Kelly began sexually exploiting her in 2010. Both women claimed they were forced to call him ‘Daddy’ and follow his draconian rules restricting how they could dress, who they could speak with and when they could use the bathroom.
Less than a month into their relationship, ‘Zel’ said she had a sexual intercourse with Kelly for the first time and contracted herpes from him, which she said he had not told her he had.
‘I felt this man had purposely given me something he knew he had… He was agitated and said I could have gotten that from anyone,’ the woman told the jury through tears, noting that she had not had sex with anyone else.
‘Zel’ said the virus would cause painful outbreaks after sexual encounters, prompting Kelly to mockingly remark: ‘I think your p***y is broken,’ according to her testimony.
Ex-tour manager Demetrius Smith (left) 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 her
R. Kelly pictured here with Aaliyah from the ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Lifetime documentary
‘It got to the point where I couldn’t even physically walk,’ she added, as The Daily Beast reported.
They were regularly having sex, with Kelly nearly always videotaping the encounters, she said.
‘Zel’ said when she confessed to Kelly that she was 17, he slapped her across the face with an open palm, but then invited her to live with him and be homeschooled in Chicago, where she remained for the next five years.
The jury was shown notes she wrote to herself about how to stay in line with his rules when she was around him.
‘Tell Daddy everything,’ she had written.
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.’
Speaking of the marriage, Smith told the court on Monday: ‘It shouldn’t have happened. It was wrong.’
Kelly is charged in the bribery scheme as part of the broader racketeering case accusing him of sexually abusing several women, girls and boys during the course of his 30-year singing career. He’s vehemently denied the charges, claiming that the women were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune.
Forced to testify against his will after being given immunity from future charges, Smith repeatedly told the judge on Friday he was uneasy about taking the stand, though he did not give a specific reason.
But with prodding from the judge, he detailed how the singer came to him while he was on a 1994 tour and told him, ‘Aaliyah is in trouble. We need to get home.’
Kelly, 54, has pleaded not guilty to a nine-count indictment describing his alleged abuse of six women and girls, including the late singer Aaliyah
They rushed back to Chicago after a concert in another city so they could arrange the marriage meant ‘to protect him and Aaliyah,’ Smith said. He said he told Kelly, ‘I know how to get her an ID,’ and that’s what I did.’
Earlier Friday, another former Kelly employee, Anthony Navarro, was called by the government to describe the inner workings of the Chicago-area mansion where Kelly had a recording studio and a constant stream of female visitors.
Being at the mansion ‘was almost like the Twilight Zone,’ Navarro said. ‘It’s just a strange place.’
Navarro’s testimony bolstered the government’s contention that Kelly controlled everything around him and created an environment where girls and women who entered the space faced strict rules that gave them little choice but to submit to the singer’s sexual whims.
Navarro told jurors that he never witnessed Kelly sexually abuse his victims. But there were ‘girls’ who would stay at his home for long stretches and couldn’t eat or depart without Kelly’s permission, he said
‘There’s been times where they wanted to (leave) but couldn’t because they couldn’t get a ride or we couldn’t get ahold of Rob’ to get approval, he said.
Navarro, who was trained as an audio engineer, spent much of his time doing menial chores for Kelly like driving visitors to and from his home.
‘Mainly it was girls who were coming to the studio,’ he said.
Timeline of R. Kelly’s downfall from R&B superstar to ‘sexual predator’
August 1994: At age 27, R. Kelly marries 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah D. Haughton. The couple weds in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. The marriage is annulled months later because of Aaliyah’s age. Aaliyah dies in a plane crash seven years later at age 22.
February 1997: Tiffany Hawkins files a complaint against Kelly alleging intentional sexual battery and sexual harassment while she was a minor. The lawsuit is reportedly settled for $250,000 the following January.
August 2001: Tracy Sampson files a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sex was illegal under Illinois law because he was in ‘a position of authority’ over her. The case was reportedly settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
February 2002: The Chicago Sun-Times reported that it received a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor. The paper reported Chicago police began investigating allegations about Kelly and the same girl three years earlier. At the time, the girl and her parents denies she was having sex with Kelly.
June 2002: Kelly is indicted in Chicago on child pornography charges stemming from the sex tape. He pleads not guilty and is released on $750,000 bail.
January 2003: Kelly is arrested at a Florida hotel on additional child pornography charges after investigators said they found photos of him having sex with a girl. Charges are later dropped after the judge ruled police didn´t have a warrant to search Kelly’s house.
September 2005: Kelly’s wife Andrea Kelly asks for an order of protection from her husband, accusing the singer of hitting her when she said she wanted a divorce. The couple confirm they have divorced in 2009.
February 2006: Kelly’s brother, Carey Kelly, says his brother offered him $50,000 and a record deal to say he was the person on the sex video.
May 2008: Kelly’s child pornography trial begins. He is acquitted on all counts the next month after less than a full day of deliberations.
July 2017: BuzzFeed reports on parents’ claims that Kelly brainwashed their daughters and was keeping them in an abusive ‘cult.’ One woman says she was with Kelly willingly. Following the BuzzFeed report, activists launched the #MuteRKelly movement, calling for boycotts of his music.
April 2018: The Time’s Up campaign, devoted to helping women in the aftermath of sexual abuse, joins the #MuteRKelly social media campaign and pushes for further investigation into Kelly’s behavior, which had come under closer scrutiny over the previous year as women came forward accusing him of sexual coercion and physical abuse. Kelly´s camp responds: ‘We will vigorously resist this attempted public lynching of a black man who has made extraordinary contributions to our culture.’
May 2018: Spotify cuts R. Kelly’s music from its playlists, citing its policy on hate content and hateful conduct. Shortly after, Apple and Pandora also stop promoting his music. Kelly’s team pushes back, noting other artists on Spotify had been accused or convicted of crimes.
The same month Faith Rodgers, 20, files a lawsuit accusing R. Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly inflicting her with herpes during a yearlong relationship.
January 2019: Lifetime airs the documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly,’ which revisited old allegations against him and brought new ones into the spotlight. The series followed the BBC’s ‘R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,’ released the previous year, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will.
Lady Gaga apologizes for her 2013 duet with Kelly, saying she intended to remove the song, ‘Do What U Want (With My Body),’ from streaming services.
Faith Rogers says Kelly had written a letter the previous October to one of her lawyers, threatening to reveal embarrassing details of her sexual history if she didn’t drop her May 2018 lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse.
Multiple media outlets reports Kelly and his label, Sony subsidiary RCA Records, part ways. Lady Gaga and Celine Dion remove their duets with Kelly from streaming services, and French rock band Phoenix apologizes for collaborating with Kelly in 2013. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct.
February 2019: Attorney Michael Avenatti says he gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of Kelly having sex with an underage girl, and that it is not the same evidence used in Kelly’s 2008 trial.
Kelly is arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Kelly’s attorney enters not guilty pleas on the singer’s behalf. Hours later, Kelly posts bail and is released from jail in Chicago.
March 2019: CBS airs interview in which Kelly vehemently denied the sexual abuse charges against him. Later, authorities in Cook County take Kelly into custody after he tells a judge he couldn´t pay $161,000 in back child support he owed his children’s mother.
May 2019: Kelly is charged with 11 new sex-related counts in Chicago. They involve one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.
July 2019: Kelly is indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago on charges including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. A separate indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York included charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. He is again arrested in Chicago.
A federal judge orders Kelly held in jail without bond after a prosecutor warned he would pose an extreme danger to young girls if set free.
August 2019: Kelly pleads not guilty to federal charges accusing him of sexually abusing women and girls who attended his concerts, as his lawyers continue to label the alleged victims disgruntled ‘groupies.’
Kelly is charged in Minnesota with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
October 2019: Kelly is denied bail in his New York City sex abuse case after a judge agreed with prosecutors that freeing him from jail would create a risk of him fleeing or tampering with witnesses.
December 2019: Kelly is charged by federal prosecutors with paying a bribe in exchange for a ‘fraudulent identification document’ for an unidentified female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah. He later pleads not guilty.
March 2020: Kelly pleads not guilty in Chicago to an updated federal indictment that included child pornography charges and allegations involving a new accuser, while prosecutors say more charges alleging yet another victim were upcoming.
August 2020: Federal prosecutors announce charges against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
Kelly’s manager is arrested in California on charges that he threatened a shooting at a Manhattan theater two years ago, forcing an evacuation and the cancellation of the screening of a documentary addressing allegations that the singer had sexually abused women and girls.
July 2021: Federal prosecutors in Kelly´s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an underage boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming trial to hear those claims.
August 2021: Kelly’s long-anticipated federal trial begins in New York with opening statements on August 18.