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Two new witnesses accuse R. Kelly of sex abuse when they were underage

A woman said she was raped by R. Kelly backstage at a concert when she was 17 years old, days after the singer married 15-year-old Aaliyah using a fake ID.

BROOKLYN (CN) — As federal prosecutors continued presenting their case in R. Kelly’s federal trial, two alleged victims took the stand on Monday — one man and one woman — describing sexual abuse they say took place when they were teenagers. Kelly, 54, is on trial in Brooklyn for racketeering and Mann Act violations stemming from an alleged decades-long sex ring.

Louis met Kelly when he was a 17-year-old senior in high school working at a McDonald’s in Markham, Illinois. He said he had seen the R&B singer’s Maybach roll through the fast food chain before, but this time, the car pulled up so the singer was in line with the ordering window. 

Kelly, who was 39 at the time, was interested in Louis’ manager, Valerie, and asked Louis if he could “hook it up.” When Louis obliged, “he looked at me like, ‘oh, you really did that for me?’” Louis recalled on the stand. 

The singer gave Louis two pieces of paper: one for Valerie and one to keep for himself. 

“I was too nervous to call him myself,” said Louis, an aspiring rapper who wanted to Kelly to help him professionally. So he gave the paper to his mother. “She put it in her Bible and she eventually called.” 

Louis visited the basement-level music studio at Kelly’s Olympia Fields, Illinois, mansion, and rapped for one of Kelly’s producers. He kept in touch with a Kelly associate known as “Junebug,” who invited him to watch Kelly and his crew play basketball at the Markham Field House, around the corner from the McDonald’s where Louis worked. 

That earned Louis another invitation to Kelly’s studio. But when he arrived, instead of working on his music, he met Kelly in the detached garage where the singer had set up a boxing ring. 

“He was just asking me, like, what I was willing to do for music,” Louis recalled. Conversation turned sexual, and the singer asked whether Louis had ever fantasized about men. 

Kelly proceeded to take Louis’ pants down and perform oral sex on him, even though “I kept saying no,” Louis testified. “I said I didn’t like it, I wasn’t into it. I wasn’t getting a reaction." 

Louis said the singer then sent him home without hitting the studio, saying, “not today, man, something came up.” 

Even though he was uncomfortable, Louis continued to see Kelly at basketball and attended parties at his home. “I really wanted to make it in the music industry,” he said. He would also bring high school classmates to Kelly’s home: On the day of his high school graduation, he and friends attended the release party for Kelly’s "Double Up" album. 

“My mom took us all to the store to get the CDs,” Louis said. 

Sexual encounters with Kelly continued, according to Louis, who described a shocking example that took place in the boxing ring. 

“He snapped his fingers two times and a young lady came out from underneath the ring,” Louis said, adding that she was fully naked. “She crawled over to him and gave him oral sex.” 

Then Kelly told the woman to “pull my pants down and do me the same way she did him,” Louis said. Kelly told her to call Louis “Daddy” — the same moniker that female victims and Louis testified that Kelly instructed them to use to address him. 

In another instance, Louis passed out at a party in a club-themed room called “The Five Star” at Kelly’s home. When he woke up, Kelly was there, and Louis’ pants were unbuttoned, the witness testified. 

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“To me, it felt like he might have had oral sex with me,” Louis said.

As other alleged victims have testified, Louis said Kelly would record sexual activity between them on a camcorder, sometimes mounting it on a tripod, and later on iPads. Alleged victims have described Kelly regularly carrying around a backpack with four or five iPads inside. 

Louis also talked about Kelly instructing him to have sex with Kelly’s girlfriend, an experience that mirrored testimony by an alleged female victim, Jane, who said she was instructed to have sex with a man she had never met as a “punishment” for violating Kelly’s rules. 

On the stand, Louis was asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes — and on cross examination, by defense attorney Deveraux Cannick — about the fact that his testimony was part of a cooperation agreement with the government, after Louis was charged with attempting to bribe a witness in this case to get her not to testify. Louis said he had hoped to get a cut of the money, and also thought that the witness in question may have tapes of him engaging in sexual activity with Kelly. 

Louis also said that in 2019, Kelly instructed him to write a letter to “protect” each of them, claiming that people were trying to pay Louis to say he had had a sexual relationship with Kelly. Previously, victims said Kelly told them to write letters blaming themselves and their parents for Kelly’s abuse. 

“He told me word-for-word what to say,” Louis explained. “I thought it was just something that would protect us so whatever happened in the past wouldn’t come to light.” 

The alleged victims who have testified so far have described a pattern of being groomed by Kelly, often with the promise of getting help from the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner with their careers. 

On Monday, however, a woman described being raped by Kelly in a one-time encounter she said took place in the singer’s dressing room at a 1994 concert in Miami. 

Identifying herself as Addie, the woman said her mom had gotten her tickets to the Budweiser Superfest concert, which featured Salt ‘n Peppa and Coolio in addition to Kelly’s closing act, through the radio station Power 96. She recalled wearing sneakers, white shorts and a T-shirt, and sitting in the third row of the VIP section. 

“The main artist that I went to go see was Aaliyah,” Addie said. "Unfortunately, she didn’t perform.” 

Days before the show, Kelly had married the late singer Aaliyah — who was 15 years old at the time — because Kelly thought she was pregnant with his child. Kelly’s former tour manager testified about securing fake identification for Aaliyah so she could marry Kelly, who was 27 at the time. 

Addie was not a big fan of Kelly’s music. “It was OK,” she said. But the 17-year-old and her 19-year-old friend accepted an invitation to meet the singer in his dressing room for an autograph. 

Kelly signed Addie’s show program and wrote down his hotel room number so the teenaged dancer could come by for an audition. After Addie told the singer she was 17, she said he whispered to his “bouncers” and cleared the room of media. 

It was then that Kelly started asking Addie and her friend who was a better kisser, and began kissing each of them while playing one of his own songs, she said.

“I felt overwhelmed and started pulling away,” Addie said. “He started getting a little more aggressive … holding my wrists and unzipping my pants, pulling them down, and started having sexual intercourse with me.” 

Addie’s friend refused to participate and suggested that Addie press criminal charges after the encounter, she testified. Unsure if the police would believe her and wanting to avoid being “victim shamed,” Addie did not seek legal action — a point Cannick brought up during cross-examination. 

Cannick, of the firm Aiello & Cannick, questioned why Addie had kept her program for decades after the concert. 

“So someone raped you, according to you, and you kept the program as a memorabilia?” he asked. 

The defense attorney then asked about Addie’s age, clarifying that “you were 17 and 10 months” old at the time of the concert. 

Cannick asked if the “humiliation and trauma” that Addie described had prevented her from meeting with law enforcement in the years since the 1994 incident. 

“I am an adult now, so no, I’m not a little girl anymore,” Addie said. “Everyone deals with trauma differently.”

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