R Kelly trial: Prosecutors request to play tape of singer allegedly threatening his victims

Updated: September 15th, 2021 03:20 PM IST

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R Kelly trial: Prosecutors request to play tape of singer allegedly threatening his victims

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Prosecutors want a New York City jury at the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial to hear profane video and audio recordings they say demonstrate how he threatened his victims with violence.

On one of the 2008 tapes, an enraged Kelly can be heard accusing an unidentified woman of lying to him before beginning to assault her, according to a court document filed on Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn.

The star R&B singer is captured on another recording berating a second woman from Florida, identified as a "Jane Doe" he accused of stealing a Rolex watch from him, the filing says.

In this June 26, 2019 file photo, R&B singer R. Kelly, center, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court building for an arraignment on sex-related felonies in Chicago. (AP, File)

Prosecutors had planned to call the second woman as a witness. But they decided against it after she "started to have panic attacks and appeared to have an emotional breakdown" while listening to the tape in preparation for her testimony, the filing says.

Kelly, now 54, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges accusing him of sexually abusing several women, girls and boys during the course of his 30-year singing career. He has vehemently denied the charges, claiming that the women were groupies who wanted to take advantage of his fame and fortune achieved through hits like "I Believe Can Fly."

The judge indicated on Tuesday that she would grant the government’s request to use the tapes as evidence at the trial that began on Aug. 18. There was no immediate response to a message seeking comment from Kelly’s defense team.

The request came a day after another witness testified she saw Kelly in a "sexual situation" with R&B phenom Aaliyah around 1993, when she was only 13 or 14. The woman also told the jury that Kelly had sex with her when she was 15 — the latest in a series of accusers who say he sexually exploited them when they were underage.

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