R Kelly trial: First male accuser gives evidence
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A man has given evidence in a New York court that he was sexually exploited by R. Kelly when he was just 17 and trying to make it as a musician.
The “Ignition” singer is currently on trial in New York City for racketeering “predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labour and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity” and following days of testimony from women who alleged they had been groomed and abused by the disgraced chart star, his first alleged male victim took to the witness stand on Monday
The man, who was testifying under the pseudonym “Louis”, recalled how he was a high school student when Kelly allegedly lured him to his Chicago home in 2007 with false offers of helping him with his music career.
He told the jury Kelly had asked him "what [he] was willing to do for music" and he had replied: “I’ll carry your bags. ... Anything you need, I'll be willing to do.”
He claimed Kelly replied "that's not it", before asking if he'd ever fantasised about having sex with men and then allegedly "crawled down on his knees and proceeded to give me oral sex” even though the accuer "wasn't into it”.
He added: "[Afterwards] he told me to keep between him and me."
The man recalled another alleged incident where the 'I Believe I Can Fly' singer - whose real first name is Robert - "snapped his fingers three times" in order to summon a naked girl, who was hiding under a boxing ring, to give them both oral sex.
Louis continued to see Kelly in the home of receiving support with his music, but alleged he was abused on subsequent occasions, with the encounters recorded on iPad and camcorders.
Like some of the female accusers, Louis testified that Kelly asked him to call him "Daddy".
He added: "As our relationship got stronger, he said I was like a brother. I was his 'little brother.' "
The accuser last saw Kelly in person in the late 2010s in the hallway outside the singer's apartment, where he'd been summoned to talk as the singer was looking for "protection".
He alleged Kelly told him to write a letter saying that someone had planned to pay him to say he was in a homosexual relationship with the singer, but confirmed the contents of the note he agreed to write were untrue.
He said: "He gave me the notepad and I wrote the letter. He told me word for word what to say."
Louis had previously pleaded guilty to bribery after being accused of attempting to bribe another witness not to testify against Kelly and had agreed to testify in the criminal trial as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors.
While on the stand on Monday, he insisted Kelly - who was in jail at the time - hadn't been involved with the bribery, despite phone records in the original documents showing he suggested the singer would fund the pay-off.
And he explained he had tried to bribe the other accuser to "help both of them" as he believed the unnamed woman might have recordings of sexual encounters with the singer which he didn't want to be made public.
Kelly, 54, has pleaded not guilty and repeatedly denied the allegations against him.