A Second Woman Says R. Kelly Knowingly Infected Her With Herpes
The racketeering trial of the R&B star R. Kelly resumed on Wednesday with the testimony of the sixth accuser to take the stand against the singer …
The racketeering trial of the R&B star R. Kelly resumed on Wednesday with the testimony of the sixth accuser to take the stand against the singer.
The woman, who is testifying using only her first name, Faith, accused Mr. Kelly of exposing her to herpes. Faith, whose testimony began on Tuesday, said the singer did not inform her that he had the incurable disease before they began to have sex, and that he often declined to use a condom.
“I said, ‘Are you going to use a condom?,’” she recalled asking Mr. Kelly during their first sexual encounter. “He said, ‘We don’t need a condom.’”
Five of the accusers who have testified so far said that they were underage when their sexual encounters with Mr. Kelly began. But Faith told jurors that she was 19 when she first met the entertainer at a concert in Texas in 2017, and they began a sexual relationship that lasted about 11 months shortly after.
The singer, whose real name is Robert Sylvester 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.
Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Kelly, 54, of running a decades-long criminal plot that used his fame — and a network of associates and employees — to prey on women and girls for sex.
Check back for updates as Faith’s testimony continues.
Another woman says R. Kelly exposed her to herpes
Faith, the sixth accuser to take the stand against Mr. Kelly, told jurors on Wednesday that shortly after her final sexual encounter with the singer in 2018, she began to develop cold symptoms — and that later her mouth had “bumps everywhere.”
She testified that she went to urgent care and later to a personal doctor, who diagnosed her with type 1 herpes. “I was in shock,” she said.
Faith told jurors that she reached out to Mr. Kelly several times, but that he never responded.
“I really just wanted him to maybe give me answers — or just acknowledge that he did it,” Faith testified. “I knew it was him.”
She said she contacted a lawyer in her home state, Texas, and later received a call from Mr. Kelly after she had texted him repeatedly. Faith testified that she asked him why he did not disclose that he had the disease.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if I did know what you’re talking about, we’re not going to talk about it over the phone,’” Faith recalled.
Faith became the second woman to testify that she contracted herpes after the singer exposed them to the disease without notifying them that he had been infected. The first accuser to speak at his trial, Jerhonda Pace, told jurors that she, too, contracted the disease around 2009 — and that she was not warned beforehand.
One of Mr. Kelly’s longtime doctors, Kris McGrath, testified earlier in the trial that the singer was being treated for the incurable disease by 2007, and that he had instructed Mr. Kelly to notify any sexual partners that he had it.
Faith, who is now 24, first met Mr. Kelly at a concert in San Antonio in 2017. She received a pass to go backstage, the singer gave his phone number to her and the two began a monthslong sexual relationship.
During their interactions, Faith said Mr. Kelly often pressured her to have sex and recorded their encounters — but because she was an adult at the time, her involvement in Mr. Kelly’s case centers on the herpes diagnosis.
Throughout the trial, most of Mr. Kelly’s facial expressions have been hidden by a mask. But in a rare display of emotion, the singer appeared uncomfortable — shaking his head, rubbing his forehead, and running his hand along his face — while Faith described a failed sexual encounter with the singer in which she clenched her body to avoid penetrative sex.
Later, Faith said, Mr. Kelly masturbated while watching a video he had made of different women, some of whom he had told her he was “raising.” As the story concluded, Mr. Kelly put his head down and rubbed his hand across his close-cropped hair.
Prosecutors also reviewed a letter Mr. Kelly sent Faith in October 2018, after she filed a lawsuit against him in New York. In the letter, signed by Mr. Kelly, the singer described her lawsuit as a “heartless effort” to destroy his musical legacy and threated to ruin her reputation if she proceeded, claiming he could bring 10 male witnesses to testify about her sex life.
In the letter, he said that Faith had chosen to call him “Daddy” and that their age difference had only become a problem to her once their interactions concluded. He also included photographs of Faith partially dressed, adding that he had cropped some photographs and that he would not share them publicly “yet!!!”
The judge warns visitors to ‘behave’ after an accuser’s family member is accosted
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who is presiding over the trial, warned visitors on Wednesday that they would lose access to the courthouse if they did not “behave,” after a prosecutor said that Faith’s family members had been verbally accosted the day before.
Nadia Shihata, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge that there had been “audible, negative reactions to testimony” in overflow rooms of the courthouse, where members of the public and the media have watched the proceedings because of the pandemic.
As two of Faith’s family members left on Tuesday, she said, they were approached by a supporter of the singer who called Faith “stupid,” followed by an expletive.
Only a handful of members of the public have turned out at the singer’s trial each day, and Wednesday was the first time that prosecutors had discussed a confrontation between a visitor and a witness’s relatives.
Emily Palmer contributed reporting.