Entertainment: Woman Says R. Kelly Raped Her After Promising Her An Interview

…Read about more details on R. Kelly’s trials


The second woman to testify on Thursday said Mr. Kelly was violent and possessive, following a witness who described being raped by the singer.

One woman accused R. Kelly of locking her in his Chicago studio in 2003 and raping her while she was unconscious, and a second woman described the strictures and abuse she endured as one of the singer’s live-in girlfriends, as Mr. Kelly’s racketeering trial continued Thursday in Brooklyn.

The two women were the eighth and ninth accusers to take the stand against the R&B singer, who prosecutors say used his fame to build and operate a criminal organization of associates and employees to prey on women and girls. And while accusations of sexual misconduct have long trailed Mr. Kelly, witnesses at the trial have described sexual and physical abuse beyond what has previously been made public.

Mr. Kelly has denied the accusations and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include a single count of racketeering and eight counts of violating an interstate anti-sex trafficking law known as the Mann Act.

The first witness Thursday, who testified using only the name Sonja, said she was about 21 years old and an intern at a radio station in Utah when she was given a chance to interview Mr. Kelly, then an R&B superstar. She told jurors that she had hoped to “kick-start” her career, but was instead imprisoned in his home for days and assaulted.

And the second witness, who testified as Anna, described a budding relationship with Mr. Kelly that turned abusive, as the singer slapped and humiliated her if she failed to adhere to his strict rules for the women in his orbit.

These are the key moments from the 13th day of testimony:

An accuser says R. Kelly slapped her if she looked at other men


R. Kelly was so jealous and controlling that he smacked a girlfriend in the face when she happened to glance in the direction of other men, the woman testified on Thursday.

Anna — who testified in a voice sometimes so soft the judge had to ask her to speak up — said she met Mr. Kelly at a concert in South Carolina in 2016, when she was 19 or 20 years old. They exchanged numbers and met up a few months later in Atlanta, she said.

Within weeks, Anna said, she had moved in with the R&B singer and was traveling with him to concerts across the country.

“It was cool,” she testified. “We would always go out and have a good time. It was always fun in the beginning.”

But soon Mr. Kelly became “more controlling” and violent, she said. And in what has become a motif of the trial, Anna detailed the rules she and the other women in his orbit had to follow: She had to wear baggy clothing and baseball caps and wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. And she said Mr. Kelly directed her to “turn away” when another man was nearby.

Sequestered with Mr. Kelly’s other girlfriends in a renovated area upstairs at his Atlanta estate, Anna said she had little access to the world outside Mr. Kelly’s stifling sphere. Sometimes, as punishment for breaking rules, Mr. Kelly would take her phone away for a couple of days — or even a few months.

When traveling, Anna could only leave the singer’s sprinter van to use the restroom with his permission, she testified. If she couldn’t reach him, she said, she had to urinate into a cup on the van.

Once, she left the van without permission, angering Mr. Kelly. “That was really before I knew the full rules,” Anna told the jury.

Sometimes, breaking the rules led to spankings or restrictions on her movement, Anna testified, adding that Mr. Kelly recorded the spankings on his iPad. He also told her to send him messages saying she enjoyed the spankings and that it turned her on, she said. (She told the jury she did not in fact enjoy being spanked.)

Mr. Kelly also recorded another form of punishment, she said: She had to walk back and forth in front of him, naked, calling herself “stupid” and a “slut.”

During cross-examination, one of Mr. Kelly’s lawyers, Deveraux L. Cannick, asked Anna if the bus rules represented controlling behavior, or just concern about “security issues.”

Mr. Cannick later pressed Anna to describe the times she left Mr. Kelly, including after an argument at a concert venue that she said turned violent. “You could leave whenever you wanted to, correct?” Mr. Cannick asked, noting that Mr. Kelly even paid for her tickets and hotel when she left.

Anna said yes, although Mr. Kelly always objected if she tried to leave with anything he had bought her. “The only clothes I had were clothes he had purchased,” she said. “I tried to leave with shoes on my feet.”

On one occasion, Mr. Cannick suggested that she had returned to Mr. Kelly because she wanted him to pay to fix a cosmetic surgery that he had previously paid for.

Eventually, Anna said under cross-examination, she did not want to be in a relationship with a man who had other girlfriends.

A woman says she was imprisoned and raped at R. Kelly’s home

Sonja testified on Thursday that she was excited for the opportunity to interview a superstar when she traveled to Mr. Kelly’s home in the Chicago area. Instead, she said, she was locked in a room there for several days without food or water. When an associate finally brought her Chinese takeout, she took a few bites, began to feel “something coming on” and grew tired.

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When she woke up, she said, she saw Mr. Kelly “doing up his pants in the corner” nearby and noticed that “there was some wet stuff in between my legs.”

She said she saw her underwear resting on the arm of a nearby couch, and realized it had been removed while she was unconscious.


“It felt like something had been inside of me,” she said. “I believed I was touched sexually.”

When asked by a prosecutor if she consented to any sexual acts with Mr. Kelly, she responded, “absolutely not.”


Sonja, who is now 39, said she aspired to pursue a career in radio when she first met the singer in August 2003 at a mall in Utah. She told jurors she had hoped to land her “first huge celebrity interview.” But, she testified, Mr. Kelly suggested that she travel to his studio, called the Chocolate Factory, since he did not have time at the mall and did not want to speak over the phone.

Understand the R. Kelly Trial

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What are the charges? Mr. Kelly is facing one charge of racketeering based on sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting anyone across state lines for prostitution.

Who is testifying? The trial centers around six women, several of whom are expected to testify. Prosecutors say the singer physically abused and psychologically manipulated many of them and controlled several aspects of their lives, including when they could eat and use the bathroom. At least three were underage.

His marriage to Aaliyah. Part of the case involves R. Kelly’s marriage to singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when they wed in 1994. Mr. Kelly’s former tour manager testified that R. Kelly bribed a government employee in 1994 so that he could obtain a fake ID for her.

The 2008 trial. The performer was acquitted in a high-profile criminal case brought against him on child pornography charges in 2008. The trial was centered on a videotape that prosecutors said showed R. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. She refused to testify. Here’s a full timeline of the allegations.

She said that her boss at the radio station gave her a voice recorder for the interview, and that Mr. Kelly’s associates arranged and paid for her flight.

But immediately upon her arrival, Sonja said, she realized something was not right. One of the singer’s associates greeted her strangely, she said.

“He asked me a couple of crazy questions,” she said, adding that when he asked her if she needed “protection” she thought the man had meant security. But then, she said, “he just came out and said, ‘Do you need a condom?’”

She said she was confused, and responded, “No, I’m not here for that.”

One of Mr. Kelly’s associates photocopied her identification card, and asked for the phone numbers of her most recent contacts — including those of two close friends, her mother and grandmother — and other contact information for them, she said.

She testified that she was eventually directed to a room and told of a “list of rules” about how to behave in the house, and learned that she would need to request permission to use the bathroom or eat. When the employees left, she said she heard the door lock from the outside.

After spending days locked in the room, she said, she requested a meal, and hours later she was brought Chinese takeout. She said she had been “starving,” but after only a few bites, she told jurors she grew “extremely full” and tired. She said she woke up confused, but became aware that she had been assaulted. She said she saw Mr. Kelly in the room and approached him for a hug.

But, she said, “he grabbed my butt and pulled me closer” before he left.

One of Mr. Kelly’s associates later told Sonja that the singer would not have time for an interview and threatened her, she said, warning “you don’t want to mess with Mr. Kelly.”

“He said you can’t tell anybody,” said Sonja, who was the mother to a young child. “He had my address. The address to where my daughter was at.”

During cross-examination, Mr. Cannick contended that Mr. Kelly had told Sonja several times that he never planned to do an interview. Mr. Cannick also suggested that Sonja, who had not publicly shared her account until taking the stand Thursday, had hired a lawyer, Gloria Allred, and fabricated her stories after other accusers spoke out publicly against the singer in a Lifetime documentary.

But Sonja said that her testimony was true.

“I was sexually assaulted,” she said. “There was something in me that was something I had not invited.”


Woman Says R. Kelly Raped Her After Promising Her An Interview

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