R. Kelly Lawyer Makes use of Chinese language Meals, MSG to Discredit Sufferer
This actually occurred.
Photograph: Amr Alfiky/AP/Shutterstock
R. Kelly’s protection lawyer has tried to discredit one of many R&B star’s sexual-assault accusers by asking her whether or not she was incapacitated by MSG in Chinese language meals. Certainly, this eyebrow-raising trade occurred throughout testimony Thursday from Sonja, the eighth accuser to take the stand towards Robert Kelly in his Brooklyn federal court docket trial on sex-crimes and racketeering costs, now in its fourth week.
Sonja mentioned she met Kelly in August 2003, exterior a Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah, mall. She was 21 on the time and dealing as an intern at a neighborhood radio station. Sonja and a good friend headed to the mall after listening to that Kelly was there.
“I needed to get an interview. It will have been my very first large celeb interview,” she mentioned. Sonja and the good friend approached Kelly’s tour bus. “I simply requested for an interview and he type of pointed me within the different course and [said], ‘Ask him.’” Sonja mentioned she thought it was a supervisor.
“They mentioned it wasn’t going to occur” that day; they weren’t eager on a cellphone interview, nor coming to the station. As an alternative, Sonja, her good friend, and Kelly posed for an image collectively exterior the bus. Whereas there, someone slipped Sonja a bit of paper behind her again, with Kelly’s cellphone quantity on it. She doesn’t know who gave it to her.
Sonja testified that she referred to as Kelly that day. “I used to be relentless, I used to be attempting to get him to offer me that interview.” Finally, after a number of conversations, Kelly agreed to an interview, however once more rebuffed a cellphone name or station go to.
“They type of led me to a Chicago journey,” Sonja mentioned. When requested who had the thought for a Chicago journey, Sonja answered: “Rob.”
Kelly’s group made journey preparations and lined the prices. When Sonja lastly arrived and contacted them, they advised her to take a taxi to his studio. En route, the cab stopped at a gasoline station that struck Sonja as unsafe. She didn’t specify, however mentioned, “There was quite a few issues happening.”
When she arrived on the studio, a person requested her a wierd query. “He mentioned, ‘Do you want safety?’ I didn’t perceive the query,” she mentioned. Sonja thought it was a query in regards to the scary gasoline station.
“That wasn’t the kind of query that he was asking. He got here out and mentioned, ‘Do you want a condom?’”
“No, I’m not right here for that,” she replied.
A number of males requested for her ID and cellphone, in addition to addresses belonging to the primary 5 or so folks in her name historical past. (Her cellphone was returned to her.) Sonja was then led right into a room, the place two folks had been current. She was additionally requested to signal an NDA, as different alleged victims say they had been requested to do at Kelly’s house. One of many folks left to make a photocopy of it.
They advised her about guidelines she needed to observe on the studio. “I wasn’t allowed to search for. I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone,” she mentioned. Requested whether or not she was advised something about leaving the room, Sonja mentioned, “I couldn’t.”
“[One man] mentioned Mr. Kelly must be in shortly and he went out of the room.” The folks left.
“A couple of minutes later, I attempted to open the door,” she recalled. “Come to seek out out, it was locked from the skin.”
“I used to be scared, for one. I used to be ashamed. I used to be embarrassed. It was past embarrassing,” Sonja mentioned of her response. She thought, “Possibly it was an accident,” however “finally, I simply got here to the conclusion that Okay, it’s locked from the skin.”
“I banged on the door, I attempted to make use of the restroom as a lot as I may,” Sonja mentioned. There was a cellphone within the room, which referred to as downstairs. When Sonja requested for issues reminiscent of lavatory entry, somebody advised her “he needed to get it cleared”; she was advised that Kelly was the one that needed to approve issues. Finally, she was escorted to the toilet.
She mentioned she referred to as her associates as a lot as doable along with her cellphone, largely to remain occupied. She mentioned she did give one among these associates details about what was occurring along with her alleged captivity.
Sonja testified that she was locked within the room for a number of days. On what she thought was the third or fourth day, her request for meals was stuffed. “It was in a bag and I need to say it was like a inexperienced tray.” There was a cup with soda. Sonja consumed “only a couple bites, a pair sips” when a fog came to visit her.
“I received extraordinarily simply, full … felt extraordinarily full and drained. I felt one thing approaching, like, Okay, I’m completed consuming.”
“The subsequent factor I keep in mind [is] waking as much as some commotion within the room. I used to be extraordinarily confused,” she claimed. “I used to be trying over to my proper. I see Rob. He’s pulling up his pants within the nook.” She was on a sofa.
“There was some moist stuff between my legs and on my thighs.”
Sonja was carrying a nightgown with panties beneath when the meals was delivered. She mentioned she doesn’t know the way she received from the chair the place she was consuming to the sofa. Her panties had been on the couch. Sonja mentioned she didn’t take away her underwear.
The state of affairs “simply made me really feel like one thing occurred to me.”
“I do know my physique. I do know when one thing is improper,” she alleged. “It simply felt like someone and one thing had been inside [me].”
“I consider … I used to be touched sexually.”
“At any level did you consent to the defendant touching you in a sexual method?” the prosecution requested.
Sonja received up off the sofa and walked towards Kelly, to greet and provides him a hug. This was the primary time she noticed Kelly since her arrival on the studio. He grabbed her bottom and mentioned “he can be again shortly.” Sooner or later after, one among Kelly’s handlers got here into the room and mentioned the singer was not coming again, “and that I used to be in a position to go.”
The handler advised Sonja she needed to signal one other confidentiality settlement.
“He mentioned, ‘Don’t fuck with Mr. Kelly.’ It was a menace,” she claimed.
Sonja mentioned she was scared not only for herself however her household, as Kelly’s handlers had taken contact info from her cellphone from these near her, together with their addresses.
On cross-examination, R. Kelly lawyer Deveraux L. Cannick repeatedly requested Sonja about the truth that she didn’t name legislation enforcement, on condition that she had a cellphone.
Cannick additionally tried to undermine Sonja’s allegation about falling asleep, asking why she ate so little after going days with out meals.
“You weren’t famished?” he requested.
“I used to be ravenous,” she replied.
“You mentioned it was Chinese language meals,” he continued. “Was it MSG?”
Cannick was referring to the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate. Whereas MSG might be present in numerous meals, an incorrect declare persevered that MSG was largely distinctive to Chinese language meals which, some have alleged, made this delicacies unhealthy and led to quite a lot of signs. This isn’t true — well being dangers related to MSG have been successfully debunked, as have the claims that individuals really feel sick after consuming Chinese language meals due to this enhancer. The wrongful notion that there’s a Chinese language meals–MSG linked malaise has lengthy been thought of racist.
The prosecution objected to Cannick’s MSG-related query.
The choose requested Sonja: “Have you ever ever had MSG?”
“I don’t know,” Sonja replied.
Cannick once more questioned Sonja about whether or not or not she referred to as authorities whereas allegedly locked up. She mentioned that she didn’t. She additionally mentioned that she didn’t advise associates to name authorities, even when they didn’t hear from her after a sure interval. Sonja was not requested why she didn’t ask for assist.
Following Sonja’s testimony, a ninth accuser took the stand towards Kelly. Anna mentioned that she was 19 or 20 when she met Kelly backstage at a present in South Carolina, in 2016. She and Kelly exchanged numbers and began speaking. She noticed him once more in Atlanta, when she went there to go to a good friend. Anna began dwelling with him shortly thereafter.
Throughout Anna’s testimony, her description of his alleged abuse and management was in line with that of different witnesses. There have been guidelines to observe, together with how she interacted with the opposite girlfriends. They couldn’t praise one another or discuss social media. If she broke a rule, alleged punishments included “spankings or, you recognize, no going out and about. It was actually an possibility between the 2.” Typically, Kelly would take her cellphone if she disobeyed one among her guidelines, she mentioned.
In the event that they had been on the highway and he or she wanted to make use of the restroom, Anna mentioned she would generally “use a cup” if he couldn’t be reached for permission.
Anna additionally testified that Kelly made her file embarrassing movies, together with one the place she was “being sexual and seductive with bodily fluids.” Kelly directed her what to do within the video, she mentioned. (This testimony echoes that of one other Kelly accuser, who alleged that he had her contact her excrement and file it.) Anna mentioned that she and Kelly broke up in late 2018.
Prosecutors preserve that his alleged sexual abuse of women, boys, and younger ladies is a part of a coordinated legal enterprise, not simply ongoing vicious habits. Thursday’s witnesses got here after the third week of testimony in Kelly’s trial, throughout which the prosecution referred to as extra witnesses to bolster their claims of Kelly’s alleged patterns in reaching out and grooming his accusers — with the help of his private and enterprise associates. A few of final week’s testimony additionally supported the prosecution’s accusation that Kelly is a “predator,” in line with their opening assertion.
This submit has been up to date all through.