Following the first day of witness testimony for the defense on Monday during the sex trafficking trial of R. Kelly, additional witnesses took the stand on Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court.
One of those witnesses, per CNN, was one of R. Kelly’s former “runners” Jeff Meeks, who claimed to have worked with the singer off and on beginning in 2002 up until 2019, when the entertainer was arrested. Meeks claimed to have never seen the singer around any underage girls or any women “locked in rooms” or any “rooms with locks on the outside of doors at the studio.” However, upon cross-examination, Meeks later recalled a time where he witnessed a girl try to leave Kelly’s Chicago studio.
More from CNN:
Federal prosecutor Maria Cruz Melendez questioned Meeks about statements he made that he once saw a girl attempting to leave Kelly’s studio and that he asked a coworker, “What do we do?”
Meeks testified he remembered the incident and that after the coworker determined they should let the person leave, he was “relieved.”
“It’s fair to say you don’t want to see the defendant convicted, right?” Melendez asked. “That’s fair,” Meeks replied.
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Later on Tuesday, one of Kelly’s former accountants, John Holder, took the stand where he testified about his working relationship with the singer. Holder began working with Kelly in 2018 up until he was arrested the following year.
Per Holder’s testimony, he was in charge of overseeing where Kelly’s “finances stood” and the direction they needed to go in order to “build his wealth,” adding: “Mr. Kelly decided who got paid and I gave him the checks.” Holder also said that he would sometimes be with Kelly for several hours, multiple times a day and like previous defense witnesses, testified that he never saw any abuse of women at the hands of Kelly.
More from CNN of Holder’s testimony:
When cross-examined by prosecutors, he conceded he did not see Kelly’s interactions with women behind closed doors.
“On most occasions they (Kelly’s girlfriends) were upstairs and you were downstairs, correct?” prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes asked. “Correct,” Holder testified.
As Geddes introduced a chart that Holder created for Kelly as evidence —- a drawing of an octopus that labeled Kelly the CEO of “RSK Enterprises LLC” — defense attorneys objected to the document being entered as evidence, while Geddes argued it was a document Holder created to show Kelly’s enterprise.
“He was the leader of it, correct?” Geddes said. “It was his company. Yes,” Holder testified.
At the heart of prosecutors’ case is their allegation that Kelly was the head of a criminal enterprise whose purpose was to “promote R. Kelly’s music and the R. Kelly brand and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly.”
Additionally, CNN notes that the defense will likely wrap up their argument on Wednesday, with closing arguments expected to begin later that same day and into Thursday, as told by US District Judge Ann Donnelly. As it stands, over the course of five weeks, jurors have heard from over 45 witnesses from the prosecution, including 11 accusers who’ve given disturbing, detailed and often horrific accounts of their alleged encounters with R. Kelly that described instances of grooming, predation, exploitation, extortion, coercion, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, forced abortions, rape and much more.
The singer is currently charged with 22 federal counts across New York, Illinois and Minnesota including charges of sex crimes, human trafficking, child pornography, racketeering, obstruction of justice, kidnapping and forced labor. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.