Even at child porn trial, R. Kelly minders had eyes out for teens to party with him, says first witness in his Brooklyn sex trafficking case

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Even when he was on trial for creating child porn, R. Kelly’s minders had their eyes out for teens who would party with him, according to testimony from the first witness at the singer’s sex trafficking trial.

Jerhonda Pace, 28, said Wednesday she and another Kelly superfan she’d met on MySpace met Kelly in April 2008 at his Chicago child pornography trial, which ended in his acquittal on all counts.

About a year later, Pace said, she was contacted by one of Kelly’s “runners,” identified in court as Bubba, who invited her to a party at the singer’s Olympia Fields mansion, in suburban Chicago.

She stayed less than 30 minutes and left.

Kelly soon invited her back to the mansion with a directive to bring a bikini, Pace said. Once she arrived, he ordered her to go and put on the bathing suit on and then come back to strip for him.

“I did as I was told,” said Pace, describing how Kelly then picked her up and brought her to the games room, where he began performing oral sex on her.

“I felt uncomfortable,” recalled Pace. “I told him I was actually 16.”

Angry, Kelly ordered Pace to tell his crew she was 19 and further to “act 21.”

She said Kelly took her virginity. “He told me he was going to train me sexually,” she testified.

Pace told the court she returned to Olympia Fields a week later. In a series of rendezvous that followed, Kelly instructed Pace to invite a friend to come and stay at the mansion so that she wouldn’t be lonely when he was recording, Pace testified.

She invited 17-year-old Dominique Gardner — and quickly learned it wasn’t for the sake of her company. The two girls were not permitted to hang out together or be physically present together in the same room.

“We were not able to leave out of the rooms,” she testified. “Because it was part of the rules, Rob’s rules.”

Among Kelly’s many rules were that the girls could not eat, sleep, or do literally anything without asking his permission.

“I had to wear baggy clothes — so I had to wear sweats and a T-shirt,” Pace said. “I had to get his permission to go to the bathroom.”

She also needed permission to make phone calls “so he could talk me through them.”

Most importantly, Pace said, she had to agree with everything Kelly said and stand up and acknowledge his presence with a kiss when he entered a room.

The singer made her sign an non-disclosure agreement “to prove that I was trustworthy,” Pace said.

Kelly also made Pace write letters falsely asserting she’d stolen $100,000 worth of jewelry from him. He also made her lie and say her sister forced her into saying Kelly had given her herpes.

“It was all about gaining his trust,” she said.

Pace described one incident in which Kelly forced her into a sexual act on a tour bus with another woman, whose name he said was Juice.

“He said she’d been there since she was 15 years old,” Pace testified.

Kelly, who during the months-long relationship ordered Pace to get his name tattooed on her breast, was often physically violent with the 16-year-old when she disobeyed his rules — like the time she said she supported the Cavaliers, when his favorite team is the Bulls.

Kelly “told me that I was disrespecting him,” she said. “He slapped me in my face, back handed.”

Kelly recorded all of their sexual encounters and then watch them after with Pace, critiquing her performance, she told the court. “He would tell me where I could improve,” she said.

The abusive relationship ended after a violent outburst in January 2010. Kelly walked into a room where Pace was scrolling on her phone and lost it when she didn’t acknowledge him entering.

“That’s when he slapped me and he choked me until I passed out,” she said.

When she came to, Pace said, “He spat in my face and told me to put my head down in shame.”

Kelly then led the teen to another room and forced her into a sex act. She had to use a t-shirt she was wearing to wipe her face.

After the sexual encounter, Pace left to get a pair of high heels at Kelly’s behest and never returned.

Lawyers she hired advised her not to press charges — but they did encourage her to write everything down in a journal and keep evidence like her cell phone and the dirty t-shirt from their last sexual encounter, which she later provided to her lawyer and police. The shirt on Wednesday was introduced as evidence at Kelly’s trial.

Pace — who is heavily pregnant and told the court she expects to give birth any day — is among a number of R. Kelly victims expected to testify at his trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, which is expected to last at least four weeks.

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