NEW YORK: R Kelly asked a teenage boy what he “was willing to do for music” before sexually abusing him, according to testimony from the first male to speak out against the singer accused of sex crimes.
In bombshell testimony Monday, the now 32-year-old man said that he became associated with Kelly’s entourage and pleaded guilty in 2021 to attempting to bribe a woman who would potentially testify against the musician.
But more than a decade prior, Louis – using a pseudonym – said he first encountered Kelly in 2006, when he was a 17-year-old working the night shift at a suburban Chicago McDonald’s.
He told the Brooklyn federal courtroom Kelly slipped him his phone number.
After he and his parents attended a party at Kelly’s home, the singer told him “maybe it would be best some time if I came to the party by myself,” and said he could perform at his studio and maybe get some industry tips.
Invited under the guise of working on his music, Louis said at one point he met Kelly at his home and they proceeded to the detached garage, which had a boxing ring and a gym.
“He asked me what I was willing to do for music,” the witness said, describing the singer asking if he had “fantasies” before performing oral sex on him.
Louis said Kelly told him to “keep it between me and him” saying “we family now, we brothers.”
He said Kelly requested Louis call him “daddy” – as multiple women have said the singer demanded they do – and would routinely film their sexual encounters.
Louis was testifying Monday as part of a cooperation agreement he entered into in February 2021, under which he hopes to avoid jail time of up to 15 years.
He had offered money to a potential witness against Kelly, who was arrested in 2019, hoping the person would “not cooperate” with federal prosecutors.
Louis said he was concerned that the unnamed witness possessed sex tapes of him and Kelly.
It was unclear where Louis procured the sum of at least US$200,000 he hoped to pay the witness off with, but he told the court that Kelly had no knowledge of his bribery attempt.
Prosecutors have been presenting searing testimony from accusers to paint a picture of more than two decades of physical, sexual and emotional abuse by Kelly.
The 54-year-old denies all charges and faces between 10 years and life in prison if convicted on all counts.
Kelly has remained stoic throughout the proceedings but on Monday appeared agitated, rubbing his forehead, clasping his hands at his chin and fidgeting with his mask.
Louis recalled an episode of non-consensual sex involving him and another person, saying Kelly “snapped his fingers” before “a young lady came out from under the (boxing) ring.”
“She crawled over to him” before performing oral sex on both Kelly and Louis, the court heard.
“It was uncomfortable,” Louis said, describing another instance when he passed out from drinking at a party and woke up alone with the defendant, unsure whether they’d had a sexual encounter.
Louis is not identified in the indictment against Kelly, which charges him with racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery and forced labour between 1994 and 2018.
The racketeering count allows prosecutors to present evidence of potential crimes outside the scope of the charges, even if it’s beyond the statute of limitations.
Also, on Monday a woman identified as Addie, who is not among the alleged victims in the charges, said Kelly raped her in front of her friend backstage at a 1994 concert when she was 17.
“I was in complete shock,” she said. “I just went blank.”
She said she feared going to the police: “I didn’t even know if they would believe me,” she said, adding that “I didn’t want to be victim-shamed” or “blacklisted” in the industry.
The trial, now in its third week, is expected to last at least a month.