Wed | Dec 7, 2022

R Kelly Trial | Woman weeps while testifying against R Kelly about assault

Published:Sunday | August 22, 2021 | 12:01 PM
In this courtroom sketch Jerhonda Pace testifies against R&B star R Kelly during the singer's sex abuse trial on Wednesday.
In this courtroom sketch Jerhonda Pace testifies against R&B star R Kelly during the singer's sex abuse trial on Wednesday.
R Kelly supporter Carlotte Woods, of Kentucky shows his name tattooed on her chest outside the Brooklyn Federal court.
R Kelly supporter Carlotte Woods, of Kentucky shows his name tattooed on her chest outside the Brooklyn Federal court.
R Kelly's attorney Deveraux Cannick (centre), leaves Brooklyn Federal court during a lunch break in R&B star R Kelly's trial on Thursday.
R Kelly's attorney Deveraux Cannick (centre), leaves Brooklyn Federal court during a lunch break in R&B star R Kelly's trial on Thursday.
1
2
3

NEW YORK ( AP ):

A key accuser at the R Kelly sex-trafficking trial returned to the witness stand on Thursday, first claiming Kelly had a Girl Scout fetish and then weeping when a prosecutor asked her to read out loud from a journal entry describing how he allegedly beat and choked her the last time they were together in 2010.

Jerhonda Pace, who had remained stoic during nearly two days on the witness stand, read how Kelly cursed at her and slapped her three times, telling her, "It's not going to be an open fist next time." She wrote that he choked her and sexually assaulted her before she "became fed up with him" and left.

Pace testified she believed Kelly gave her herpes, backing allegations by prosecutors that he broke the law by knowingly transmitting the STD. They offered more evidence on that point by calling his personal physician to the witness stand later Thursday to testify that the singer had a long history of treatment for herpes.

Pace, who is pregnant and only a few days from her due date, asked for a break so she could compose herself.

She resumed her testimony in Brooklyn federal court a day after telling jurors she was a 16-year-old virgin and a member of Kelly's fan club when he invited her to his mansion in 2010. While there, she said, she was told to follow "Rob's rules" — edicts restricting how she could dress, who she could speak with and when she could use the bathroom.

'DRESS LIKE A GIRL SCOUT'

She said Kelly — born Robert Sylvester Kelly — sometimes demanded she wear pigtails and "dress like a Girl Scout" during sexual encounters that Kelly often videotaped.

On cross-examination, defence attorney Deveraux Cannick sought to show Pace hid her true motivations regarding Kelly and deceived him by lying about her age.

"You were, in fact, stalking him, right?" Cannick asked.

"That is not right," she responded.

Pace had testified earlier that she told Kelly she was 19 when they met but had informed him she was only 16 by the time he sexually abused her.

Cannick confronted her with a lawsuit settlement she signed, indicating she agreed she never revealed to Kelly that she was a minor. She said it was in exchange for hush money.

The questioning fit a theme that defence lawyers have repeatedly pushed early in the trial: Kelly was victimised by groupies who hounded him at shows and afterwards, only to turn against him years later when public sentiment shifted against him, they allege.

To bolster their claims against Kelly, prosecutors showed jurors on Thursday screenshots from Pace's phone showing several communications with Kelly in January 2010, including a text from him reading, "Please call". There was also a photo of her with "Rob" tattooed to her chest. She said she's since "covered it up with a black heart".

Later, Dr Kris McGrath told jurors that he had been prescribing herpes medication for Kelly since at least 2007 and became fast friends with him until 2019, sometimes examining the singer during house calls at his mansion. Kelly didn't pay for treatment, but instead picked up the tab for the doctor to attend his concerts in Chicago, New York and elsewhere, he testified.

Pace, the trial's first witness, was among multiple female accusers — mostly referred to in court as 'Jane Does' — expected to testify at a trial scheduled to last several weeks. Other likely witnesses include cooperating former associates who have never spoken publicly before about their experiences with Kelly.

The AP doesn't name alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent unless they have shared their identities publicly. Pace has appeared in a documentary and participated in media interviews.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com