R. Kelly asked a teenage girl to dress like a Girl Scout during sex that he recorded on video, one of his alleged victims told a federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday.
Delivering testimony on the second day of the singer’s trial on sex trafficking and racketeering charges, Jerhonda Pace spoke of the six months in 2010 during which, at 16 years old, she had a sexual relationship with Kelly.
"He recorded us having sexual intercourse,” Pace said. “He wanted me to put my hair up in pigtails and dress like a Girl Scout."
Pace told the court on Wednesday that she first met Kelly at 14 while attending his 2008 trial on charges of child pornography for which he was acquitted due to a lack of sufficient evidence. Just over a year later, at age 16, she met him at a party at his Chicago home. They exchanged numbers, and he invited her back to his house a few days later, she said.
She initially told him she was 19, she testified, but then revealed her age after they had sexual contact for the first time. Kelly made her wear a swimsuit and then allegedly instructed her to walk back and forth in front of him while removing the garment. The two then began kissing, and he then performed oral sex on her, she said. It was after this point that Pace revealed she was really 16, she said.
“He asked me, ‘What is that supposed to mean?’” Pace told the court, saying that he told her to keep saying she was 19 and “act 21.”
She then performed oral sex on him. “He told me he was going to train me on how to please him sexually,” she said.
During their monthslong sexual relationship, Pace described being slapped in the face if she upset the singer or violated one of the rules he set for her, such as eating only with his permission, calling him “daddy,” and acknowledging him promptly whenever he entered the room. One day, Pace did not acknowledge him quickly enough, and the singer responded with fury, she said. He allegedly slapped her, choked her until she passed out, and then spat on her.
This was the last straw for Pace, and she never went back to Kelly’s house, she said.
Soon after, she retained legal representation. She had wanted to press charges, she said, but her lawyers dissuaded her. She wound up settling for $1 million “in exchange for [her] silence” — a settlement she did not ultimately profit from, she said. She initially returned much of the money to Kelly, wanting to win back his trust, and later lost the remaining money when it was discovered she had told friends about the settlement and it was deemed breached as a result.
Kelly’s defense attorneys have said the women expected to testify against the singer should not be trusted and “have an agenda” because he ended their relationships.
During cross-examination on Thursday, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick sought to paint Pace as untrustworthy because she initially lied to Kelly about her age. He also suggested she was a “groupie” who had been “stalking” the singer after their relationship ended, which Pace denied.
Cannick also suggested that Pace, who delivered her testimony in a steady voice that betrayed little emotion, was too rehearsed and coached by prosecutors. He questioned Pace as to why she didn’t “say no” or leave immediately when Kelly allegedly told her to take off her swimsuit before they first had sex.
“You just took off your clothes?" he asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
On Thursday, Pace maintained that she could not use the toilet unless Kelly allowed her to, even though the room she was typically in had an attached bathroom.
When asked by Cannick how long it would take to get Kelly's permission to use the toilet, Pace said it could be just five minutes “if [she] was on his good side” — but if she was “on his bad side,” she might have to wait up to three days, she said.
In much of his cross-examination, Cannick attempted to poke holes in the woman’s testimony, focusing on minor details, but Pace was unruffled and her story remained consistent throughout.
Like others in the court, Kelly was wearing a mask on Thursday at the request of the judge on the advice of the court epidemiologist. Before this day, the majority of people present in the courtroom, which numbered about two dozen, were unmasked.
Also testifying on Thursday was Kelly’s doctor of 25 years, Kris McGrath, who said he treated the singer frequently for suspected sexually transmitted infections. He said he diagnosed Kelly with gonorrhea in 1995 and began treating him for herpes in 2000.
Prosecutors have alleged Kelly knowingly infected sexual partners, and McGrath testified that he had told the singer to use protection while having sex.
McGrath was a friend of Kelly’s and was routinely invited to the singer’s parties and concerts, but he told the court he never saw any women at Kelly’s music studios who he suspected were underage.