After meeting R. Kelly at a McDonald’s drive-thru in 2006 when he was 17 years old, a man testified on Monday that the disgraced singer sexually assaulted him after promising to help with his music career.
“He asked what I was willing to do for the music,” the now 32-year-old identified in court as “Louis” told jurors at Kelly’s sex-crimes trial in Brooklyn federal court. “He crawled down on his knees to me and proceeded to give me oral sex.”
The testimony marks the first time a male has publicly accused Kelly of sexual misconduct—and the fifth accuser to testify against the singer at his trial.
Louis told jurors that after meeting Kelly in Dec. 2006 at his job, the singer slipped him a piece of paper with his phone number on it—which he gave his mom. Throughout their relationship, Louis said, he had sexual contact with Kelly several times, and it was usually recorded.
“As our relationship got stronger, he said I was like a brother. I was his little brother,” Louis told jurors, adding that Kelly asked him to call him “Daddy,” echoing testimony from multiple female accusers.
At least one woman, who identified herself as Jane, told jurors she, too, was lured by Kelly under the false promise of career mentorship. Other women have testified that they were emotionally—and sometimes physically—abused during their relationships with Kelly.
While Louis’ allegations are not a part of the nine-count indictment against Kelly, Brooklyn prosecutors have argued the 54-year-old abused at least six women and girls, four of whom were minors when he first had sexual contact with them. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include racketeering based on kidnapping and sexual exploitation of children and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transport of people across state lines for sex.
To prove Kelly’s pattern of abuse, prosecutors also revealed that Kelly had sexual contact with at least two John Does when they were minors. The indictment states that Kelly allegedly met one John Doe in December 2006 at a Chicago McDonald’s. The other John Doe, who Kelly met when the individual was 16 or 17, was also allegedly forced to have filmed sex with the singer and several of his girlfriends.
Jane testified last week that Kelly also had “groomed” at least one male, whom she only knew by the name “Nephew.”
“[R. Kelly] said that he had been grooming Nephew since he was young like me,” Jane said in about Nephew, adding that she was forced to have sex with him on several occasions in “punishment.”
It is not immediately clear if Louis and Nephew knew one another, though Louis did say on the stand that he often brought his friends to Kelly’s parties—including one 16-year-old who the singer told him to bring around because he was “pretty funny.”
Soft-spoken on the stand, Luis told jurors on Monday that after meeting Kelly at McDonald’s when he was a senior in high school, his mother contacted the singer to try to get Louis an audition.
The conversation led to Louis and his parents going to one of Kelly’s parties at his Olympia Fields mansion, where he said he met the singer and took a picture with him.
After the photo, Louis said, Kelly whispered in his ear: “Maybe it would be best if I come to the next party by myself.”
Soon after, he said, his mother contacted Kelly and he was invited to come to the studio to audition. There, he said, Kelly initially told him he had “some potential,” before later saying he did not like the song that Louis worked on with one of the singer’s sound engineers in the studio.
Louis said that he continued to see Kelly after that initial session, oftentimes meeting up with Kelly and his crew while they were playing basketball at a gym in the Chicago suburbs. He said that while watching the group, he often saw “some ladies on the sideline” who were wearing baby clothing.
Once, Kelly told him to come over to meet with some music colleagues—but Louis said when he arrived at the Illinois mansion, only the singer was there. He said Kelly took him to a detached garage that was outfitted as a boxing ring, where he began to ask him what he was willing to do for music.
During that conversation, where Kelly also asked him if he had fantasies about men, the singer gave him oral sex, Louis said. He added that Kelly eventually stopped because the teenager “wasn’t into it.”
“He told me to keep it between me and him and said we are family now,” Louis said.
Louis said that sometimes Kelly would make him have sexual encounters with other people, including one harrowing encounter inside the same detached garage.
“He snapped his fingers two times and a young lady crawled out from underneath... the boxing ring. He told her to come here and she crawled over and gave him oral sex,” Louis said, adding that Kelly also made the women perform oral sex on him.
“He was telling her to say she liked it and say my name,” he said, adding that while he “didn’t mind” the sexual contact itself, the encounter “was a weird situation.”
“I was uncomfortable.”
Despite the sexual encounters Louis said he did not want, he continued to meet with Kelly and go to the singer’s parties because he was dedicated to having a music career, he testified.
“I really wanted to make it in the music industry.”
Louis told jurors that despite the alleged abuse, he maintained a “friendship” with Kelly until at least 2018. He said the last time he saw Kelly was at his house in Trump Tower, when the singer asked him to write a letter “to protect me and him.”
“He told me word for word what to say,” Louis said, adding that the letter falsely suggested that someone was trying to pay him off to say that he and Kelly were having a “homosexual relationship.”
Although that was the last time he saw Kelly, Louis admitted that he was later federally charged for trying to bribe one of the singer’s accusers to “not cooperate with the government.” He noted that he eventually took a plea deal and copped to attempted bribery—which resulted in his cooperation in the case and his testimony on Monday.
Louis, however, insisted that he did not bribe the Kelly accuser at the singer’s direction—and that singer did not know anything about his plans.
Since Kelly’s arrest in 2019, at least three three people have been charged for trying to “intimidate, threaten, or corruptly influence” Kelly accusers. One pleaded guilty in February to attempting to bribe a woman—who said she slept with Kelly when she was 17—in exchange for her silence.