[imagesource: Kamil Krzaczysnki / AFP via Getty Images]
Despite knowing what sort of atrocities R. Kelly stands accused of committing (thanks to Surviving R. Kelly and the follow-up, Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning), the singer’s ongoing trial in Brooklyn, New York, still manages to shock.
The 54-year-old is facing nine charges which include sexual abuse, racketeering, and bribery.
Already, we have heard allegations that he intentionally gave underage girls herpes, and forced them to perform demeaning acts on video so that he could later blackmail them.
Former employees have also started spilling the beans about what they saw over the years, including one of Kelly’s former assistants, Suzette Mayweather.
She says women needed his permission to use the bathroom, were sometimes forced to fight one another for his enjoyment, and had to call him “Daddy” at all times.
Last week it was the turn of another assistant, Diana Copeland.
Here’s The New York Times:
In her testimony, Ms. Copeland described the bizarre lengths Mr. Kelly went to control the women in his sphere — down to the Uber drivers he allowed them to ride with.
If a man pulled up, she said, “I would have to call another one” — until a female driver appeared.
Another woman testified that Ms. Copeland had accompanied her to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and then withheld her test results.
Legal experts say there’s an element of a mob boss trial to Kelly’s proceedings, with prosecutors getting close associates to ‘flip’ and validate the accounts put forward by multiple women.
On one occasion, Copeland said that Kelly had docked her pay because she scheduled appointments for two of his ‘girlfriends’ at a nail salon where a man worked.
Mapping a landscape of Mr. Kelly’s workplace culture over decades, the seven employees who have testified so far have described working for the singer in terms that far surpass the ordinary demands of an eccentric artist — sometimes noting that they broke the law to help facilitate Mr. Kelly’s interactions with underage girls.
“It was almost like the Twilight Zone,” Anthony Navarro, a former runner who worked for the singer for some two years, told the jury on the third day of the trial. “You went into the gate, and it was like a different world, just a strange place.”
Earlier this week, a former backup performer for Kelly testified that she saw him engaging in a sex act with R&B singer Aaliyah around 1993.
At that time, she would have been 13 or 14 years old.
In 1994, Kelly illegally married Aaliyah, in what prosecutors allege was an attempt to prevent her from testifying against him.
She later died in 2001 after a plane crash in the Bahamas.
Prosecutors are also seeking to have a recording of the singer allegedly threatening to have one of his victims assaulted admitted as evidence.
This via Sky News:
According to papers filed at a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, the incident happened in 2008.
On the tape, Kelly is said to be heard saying: “If you lie to me, I’m going to f*** you up.”
There’s also a video recording where Kelly can be heard threatening a woman he accuses of stealing a watch from him, saying “You better not ever… take from me again or I will be in Florida and something will happen to you.”
Yesterday, the judge in the case indicated that she would likely allow the tapes to be used as evidence.
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