NEW YORK (AP) — A key accuser at the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial returned to the witness stand on Thursday, weeping when a prosecutor asked her to read out loud from a journal entry describing how he allegedly beat and choked her the last time they were together in 2010.
Jerhonda Pace, who had remained stoic during nearly two days on the witness stand, read how Kelly cursed at her and slapped her three times, telling her, “It’s not going to be an open fist next time.” She wrote that he choked her and sexually assaulted her before she “became fed up with him” and left.
The witness, who is pregnant and only a few days from her due date, asked for a break so she could compose herself.
Pace resumed her testimony in Brooklyn federal court a day after telling jurors she was a 16-year-old virgin and a member of Kelly’s fan club when he invited her to his mansion in 2010. While there, she said, she was told to follow “Rob’s rules” — edicts restricting how she could dress, who she could speak with and when she could use the bathroom.
She said Kelly — born Robert Sylvester Kelly — sometimes demanded she wear pigtails and “dress like a Girl Scout” during sexual encounters that Kelly often videotaped.
On cross examination, defense attorney Deveraux Cannick sought to show Pace hid her true motivations regarding Kelly and deceived him by lying about her age.
“You were in fact stalking him, right?” Cannick asked.
“That is not right,” she responded.
Pace had testified earlier the she told Kelly she was 19 when they met but had informed him she was only 16 by the time he sexually abused her.