Testimony is set to continue Thursday in R. Kelly’s trial

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For the first time after two decades of swirling allegations, R. Kelly’s former goddaughter has come forward as a prosecution witness in a case against the disgraced singer.

Dressed in a white blazer with her hair in long braids, the woman, now 37 and testifying at Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago under the alias ‘Jane’, told the jury she had a first sexual contact with Kelly at age 14.

After testifying quietly for nearly two hours, Jane’s voice calmed down and began to crack as she was asked to describe the sexual encounters Kelly had recorded, including the now infamous tape at the center of the Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial.

One of the videos, which is expected to be shown to jurors, showed Jane and Kelly having sex in the living room of her Lakeview home, she said. He could be seen giving her champagne and telling her to refer to her genitals at 14, she said. Then he urinated on her, she said in a voice almost too soft to hear, wiping the tears from her eyes.

On another video around the same time Jane testified, filmed in Kelly’s wood-panelled basement jacuzzi room, Kelly appeared to hand her money before having sex.

When asked by a prosecutor why he gave her the money, Jane began to cry audibly, saying after a long pause, “Because if anyone saw the tape or if it was released for some reason he wanted her to appear like I was a prostitute.”

Saying this, Jane looked sadly at the table in front of her. Sitting at the defense table across the courtroom, Kelly shook her head.

Their sexual acts escalated into intercourse when she was 15, she said. When asked by a prosecutor how she knew her exact age, Jane calmly replied, “Because that’s when I lost my virginity.”

After that, they had sex “countless times,” sometimes with other teenage girls Jane recruited at Kelly’s behest, she said. The encounters took place at Kelly’s home on West George Street, at her Near West Side recording studio, on tour buses and at hotels in Chicago and elsewhere, she said.

Two of the other underage victims are also expected to testify against Kelly later in the trial.

To illustrate how young she looked at the time of the encounters, prosecutors asked Jane to identify two photos of herself from her childhood. The first, taken when she was a sophomore in high school, showed her kneeling holding a basketball, smiling. The other was a photo taken in her head when she was in a band at 13 – around the time she said she first met Kelly.

Jane and her parents had denied for years that Kelly ever had an inappropriate relationship with her, including before a grand jury in 2002. Jane was not called to testify at Kelly’s 2008 trial in Cook County for child pornography, even though county prosecutors alleged she was the girl on the tape.

Federal prosecutors allege Kelly and his associates paid off Jane and her family and concealed other videotapes in order to rig her trial in Cook County. He was acquitted of those charges in 2008.

Jane told the jury Thursday that when Chicago police began investigating her relationship with Kelly in 2000, she denied it because he told her he would be broke if it came to light.

“It was something I would take to my grave,” she said, adding that Kelly told her she “did a good job answering their questions.”

Things escalated in early 2002, however, when her aunt, Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, told her “there had been a leaked sex tape” featuring Jane and Kelly and that it was going to be made public. She said Kelly kept “emphasizing how important it was to keep denying it.”

Soon after, Kelly met with Jane and her parents to tell them the truth about their relationship and to apologize and try to keep them on her side, she said. “I just remember my dad storming out,” Jane testified. “He was like, ‘I can’t help you, I can’t help you.’ … He was hysterical.

Jane said Kelly decided to send them to the Bahamas and Cancun so they wouldn’t be “accessible” to the police and the media.

“There was a lot of negative attention around the videotape and Robert wanted us to leave the country to clear our heads and find approaches for the future,” Jane said.

Earlier in her testimony, Jane told the jury that she was impressed when she first met Kelly in the 1990s, particularly after attending a performance by her band and giving her some good comments.

“It made me happy that such a successful person said I was good at it, so I was excited,” she said.

She began visiting Kelly’s studio regularly when she was 12 or 13, along with her aunt Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, a protege of Kelly’s.

Edwards advised her to ask Kelly to be her godfather, she testified.

“(She said) I should sit on her lap and rub her head and ask her to play this role in my life,” Jane testified. She did, and Kelly “laughed a little and said yes.”

After that, their relationship took a sexual turn, Jane said. She would have long phone conversations with him that would eventually become explicit, she said. She was 13 years old.

Kelly also first gave her alcohol when she was 14 and she started drinking heavily.

“It would help me relax, kind of get away from the moment,” she testified.

As her testimony began, Jane remained calm on the witness stand, keeping her gaze on the questioning prosecutor, occasionally pausing to sweep her tresses off her shoulder or wipe her eyelashes.

Kelly showed little outward reaction to her testimony. When it came time for the witness to identify Kelly in the courtroom, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber asked everyone in the room to remove their masks, then Jane said she saw the singer sitting at the defense table in a blue suit jacket.

After Assistant United States Attorney Jeannice Appenteng asked Jane to identify another item of clothing Kelly was wearing, Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, said aloud into her microphone, “It’s stipulated. It’s Mr. Kelly!

Prosecutors previously called to the witness box a man who in 2001 bought a large house in Lakeview: a converted church with a swimming pool, basketball court and barber shop. The previous owner was, he learned, R. Kelly.

Kelly allegedly filmed at least one of the videos at issue in his federal indictment at this home, and in 2002, police evidence technicians came to take photos, including photos of the wood-panelled room pictured in the bandaged.

After Matthew Hulsizer moved in, he discovered that a smoke detector in at least one of the bedrooms wasn’t actually a smoke detector at all – it was hiding a small hidden video camera. And to leave the room, you had to press a button, he said, a feature he removed because he thought it was a safety hazard.

A basketball court in the George Street house was a tribute to Kelly’s success with a large cartoon mural painted on one wall depicting the Looney Tunes characters from the movie ‘Space Jam’ which of course featured Kelly’s winning song. a Grammy from Kelly.

The cartoon included a likeness of Kelly on the pitch in a red uniform and sunglasses, according to photos released by the government, playing with the Tasmanian Devil. The cartoon’s scoreboard showed him winning by two points with one second left on the clock. Some in the crowd of cartoon characters, including Tweety Bird and Marvin the Martian, held up signs.

The “Colorado Room” looked like a log cabin interior with faux wood walls and an accent wall that appeared to be faux stone. A large hot tub dominated the room, also encased in faux woodwork.

Photos of the master bedroom presented by prosecutors included close-ups of the “escape” button and the smoke detector on the ceiling where the new owner said he found a small hidden video camera.

Kelly was seated wearing a dark blue suit. Before the trial started, a marshal came to the table asking for a tie for him, telling his lawyers ‘he wants the brunette today’

Testimony resumed on Thursday with the cross-examination of a retired Chicago police detective who investigated initial allegations that Kelly was sexually abusing her teenage goddaughter.

Back on the stand Thursday, Daniel Everett reiterated that when he spoke to “Jane” and her parents in 2000, they denied the girl had any inappropriate relationship with Kelly.

A little over a year later, he obtained a tape from Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis and recognized “Jane” on the footage. This video became the center of the Kelly’s Cook County case 20 years ago.

Defense attorneys hit hard on the chain of custody issues surrounding the tape. Everett noted that he recently saw a copy of the footage and the content is the same, but he doesn’t know where the original VHS tape is.

When cross-examining Bonjean, Everett noted that he also interviewed a friend of Jane’s in 2002. This person is expected to testify later at trial under the pseudonym “Pinky”.

There is no indication in Everett’s reports that underage Pinky told him she had sexual contact with Kelly, Everett said. And while there were concerns that a videotape depicted footage of Pinky being abused, when Everett showed her and her mother stills from the tape, they denied any involvement, he testified.

The very first witness for prosecutors was a psychologist whose testimony was intended to provide context or an explanation for the behavior of certain witnesses, including the fact that victims often keep their abuse secret for years.

Afternoon briefing

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The tape allegedly filmed at this Lakeview home is one of four at the center of the child pornography charges against Kelly, who is also accused along with former associates Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown of conspiring to fake his 2008 trial.

In their opening statements, prosecutors portrayed Kelly as a serial predator, who had sexual contact with underage girls hundreds of times over the years. Five women, including “Pinky” and “Jane”, are expected to testify during the trial that Kelly sexually abused them when they were teenagers.

Bonjean, meanwhile, said the prosecutors’ case “really depends on the testimony of liars, extortionists (and) people who trafficked in pornography.”

Opening statements began Wednesday after two full days of jury selection. The 12 jurors and six alternates were sworn in on Tuesday evening; Wednesday morning, a juror was replaced by an alternate after developing a medical condition. They are expected to hear evidence and arguments over the next four weeks or so.

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