© Reuters. R. Kelly and Nicole Blank Becker sit with him during Kelly’s sex abuse trial in Brooklyn’s Federal District Court. The sketch is taken in a New York courtroom on September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
(Corrects second paragraph to show witness testified about a woman massaging Kelly, not Kelly massaging the woman; changes headline)
By Tyler Clifford
NEW YORK (Reuters) -A former assistant to R. Kelly testified on Friday she once saw him engage in sexual activity with one of the women he is charged with abusing, as prosecutors neared the end of presenting their sex trafficking case against the R&B singer.
Cheryl Mack was the mother to London on da Track’s music producer, and she testified on Friday that Kelly began massaging Kelly backstage during a Connecticut concert.
Mack stated, “That was sort of my cue for me to leave.” I was extremely uncomfortable. According to her, Kelly was very uncomfortable as she left the space. She noticed Kelly looking at Kelly’s groin and moved her head towards Kelly.
Mack claimed Kelly was also angry at Kelly in 2015, when she allegedly destroyed a surprise birthday celebration for Kash Howard. Mack had Kelly sign an “apology” letter which included false claims that Kelly accepted kickbacks.
Mack claimed that Mack apologized “out of fear.”
Witnesses have stated that Kelly forced them to sign apology letters in order to exonerate him of any misconduct. Prosecutors could then use this to demonstrate the control Kelly, according to witnesses, demanded over others.
Kelly, 54 has pleaded no guilty to allegations of his grooming and preying with women and girls. This was back when Kelly rose to fame through music such as “I Believe I Can Fly”, which he released in 1996.
Robert Sylvester Kelly was the full-name of Kelly.
Kelly was indicted for allegedly abusing six girls and one woman, including Aaliyah Kelly who Kelly had married in illegally when she turned 15. Aaliyah was killed in an airplane crash in 2001.
Witnesses at the trial claim that Kelly made them fearful by making women call him “Daddy” and punishing those who didn’t follow his strict rules.
Kelly’s lawyers attempted to present his accusers to Kelly as fans, who once wanted to make money off the singer’s popularity but feel jilted. They also questioned why Kelly and other former employees didn’t leave Kelly sooner and report to police.
One of Kelly’s attorneys, Deveraux Cannick tried to cross-examine Mack in an attempt to prove that she knew not to sign an apology note. She was only 40 years old and has many years of experience working in the music industry.
Mack stated that “I was not thinking at all.”
On August 18, the trial started.
Kelly was subject to sexual abuse allegations for almost two decades.
After the rise of #MeToo in the late 2017s, the scrutiny grew and Lifetime aired “Surviving R. Kelly” on January 2019.
Kelly is also facing sex-related allegations in Minnesota and Illinois.