She had broken one of R. Kelly’s rules, and as her punishment, the singer directed her to freshen up at a hotel, “put on something skimpy” and have sex with someone he called “Nephew,” the woman told jurors on Tuesday, her second day of testimony at Mr. Kelly’s trial.
“He wanted me to please ‘Nephew’ the same way I would please him,” the woman, who testified under a pseudonym, said of Mr. Kelly on the fifth day of his criminal trial in Brooklyn. “He basically talked us through every single thing to do.”
Mr. Kelly recorded the sex between the two on an iPad — and he instructed her to have sex with the other person on several other occasions, she said, sometimes with Mr. Kelly naked in the room or joining the interactions.
Asked by a prosecutor on Tuesday if she wanted to have sex with the person Mr. Kelly called “Nephew,” the woman responded, “Never.”
Her testimony over more than three hours in Federal District Court in Brooklyn this week was only the second time that one of Mr. Kelly’s alleged victims has taken the stand in a criminal case during decades of accusations against him. Prosecutors introduced the woman, who first met Mr. Kelly at 17 and who is now 23, by a nickname last week. But she took the stand this week with a pseudonym because of privacy concerns.
The woman said her interactions with Mr. Kelly lasted five years. They continued as his sexual conduct came under new scrutiny during the height of the #MeToo movement and as a disturbing Lifetime documentary on the accusations was released.
But on Tuesday, she revealed to jurors that Mr. Kelly had instructed her, along with other women and girls who lived with him, to “immediately change the channel” if the documentary came on television. All of the accusations in the series, she said Mr. Kelly had warned, were “false.”
During her time with Mr. Kelly, the woman publicly defended him. She participated in an interview with Gayle King of CBS This Morning where she backed him after he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago.
But, she told jurors this week, the singer often instructed her to rehearse answers to potential questions from the media or public, providing her with the “proper” responses — even if they were false.
During the interview with Ms. King, she said, she was not truthful. Mr. Kelly had also alerted her and others there to his presence.
“He did a cough that he usually does,” she said, adding that he was “letting us know that he was in the room with us.”
Less than a year later, in October 2019, the woman said, she left the singer’s home.
The sweeping nine-count indictment — which accuses Mr. Kelly of racketeering and with inducing women to travel across state lines for the purpose of committing sex crimes — is centered on his interactions with six accusers, including several who were underage at the time of their encounters with Mr. Kelly.
Over the course of the trial that began last week, several accusers are expected to testify firsthand about sexual, physical and psychological abuse inflicted by Mr. Kelly.
Understand the R. Kelly Trial
What are the charges? Mr. Kelly is facing one charge of racketeering based on sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting anyone across state lines for prostitution.
One woman, Jerhonda Pace, told jurors last week that she and Mr. Kelly started having sex for six months when she was 16 and testified that he had beaten her, including once slapping and choking her until she passed out, after she failed to abide by his harsh restrictions.
The R&B star Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 plane crash and was briefly married to Mr. Kelly when she was 15, has also been central to the case. A witness testified last week that he bribed a government employee for a fake license so she could be married, after Mr. Kelly came to believe that she might be pregnant with his child.
The woman who testified over two days this week said she first met Mr. Kelly at a music festival when she was a 17-year-old high school student. She told jurors of jarring scenes of torment that she said played out over her interactions with him.
She recalled receiving instructions to write letters that said she had stolen expensive jewelry or large amounts of money from Mr. Kelly as an “insurance policy” in case she spoke out. She graphically described a system of physical abuse that existed as punishment for breaking the singer’s stringent “rules.” One, she said, was a requirement for permission to leave assigned rooms, including to use the bathroom.
For the instances when she was not let out in time, Mr. Kelly’s associates purchased extra large cups for her to urinate in, she recalled.
She stayed in touch with several close friends during her time with Mr. Kelly — against his rules — and hid the interactions by deleting her texts, she said. She once sent them photos of herself and the singer.
“I just needed someone else to have proof just in case anything happened,” she told jurors.
Emily Palmer contributed reporting.