R. Kelly Employee Calls Singer 'Chivalrous' to Girlfriends During Trial Testimony

A former employee of R. Kelly described the singer as "chivalrous" towards his girlfriends during testimony at his sex trafficking trial as part of the defense's argument.

A handful of former employees and other associates of Kelly agreed to take the stand to testify in his defense. The defense's short case has relied primarily on their testimony as it attempts to discredit allegations that Kelly sexually abused women, girls and boys during his 30-year musical career.

Most witnesses for the defense said they had never seen Kelly abuse anyone. One witness admitted he owed Kelly for his break in the music business and wanted to see him beat the allegations.

Some of the prosecution's witnesses also included former employees of Kelly, though their testimonies suggested they had been paid off to ignore the singer's actions.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

R Kelly
A former employee of singer R. Kelly described him as "chivalrous" towards his girlfriends during testimony at Kelly's sex trafficking trial. Kelly leaves the Leighton Courthouse following his status hearing, in relation to the sex abuse allegations made against him, on May 7, 2019, in Chicago. Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Kelly told a judge on Wednesday that he won't take the witness stand at his sex trafficking trial, meaning he'll avoid the risk of a potentially brutal cross-examination.

"You don't want to testify, correct?" U.S. District Judge Ann Connelly asked the R&B singer. He responded: "Yes, ma'am."

Lawyers had already said Kelly was unlikely to testify on his own behalf. The defense is now expected to rest its case later Wednesday, clearing the way for the start of closing arguments.

By contrast, prosecutors have called dozens of witnesses since the trial began in federal court in Brooklyn on August 18. The witnesses included several female and two male accusers to back up allegations that Kelly used a cadre of managers, bodyguards and assistants to systematically recruit potential victims at his shows, malls and fast-food restaurants where he hung out.

The accusers testified that once they were in Kelly's web, he groomed them for unwanted sex and psychological torment — mostly when they were teenagers — in episodes dating to the 1990s. Their accounts were supported at least in part by other former Kelly employees whose own testimony suggested they were essentially paid off to look the other way or enable the recording artist.

The 54-year-old defendant, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges. He's also charged with multiple violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to transport anyone across state lines "for any immoral purpose."

Kelly has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that the accusers were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune until the #MeToo movement turned them against him.

Members of the media and the public haven't actually seen the jailed Kelly in person. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly has barred people not directly involved in the case from the courtroom in what she called a coronavirus precaution.

R. Kelly trial
On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, prosecutors in Kelly's sex trafficking trial at Brooklyn Federal Court in New York, played video and audio recordings for the jury they say back up allegations he abused women and girls. This photo from Friday May 9, 2008, shows R. Kelly arriving for the first day of jury selection in his child pornography trial at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast, File/AP Photo