CHICAGO — Six years after R. Kelly’s girlfriend took an illicit tape from the singer’s collection, Kelly’s business manager told her that “they should have murked me from the beginning,” the woman testified Thursday.
Asked what she thought that to mean, the woman replied through tears, “kill me.”
Lisa Van Allen — Kelly’s former girlfriend who spoke at length in the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series — testified for hours Thursday about her relationship with the singer and why she took the tape that, she said, showed her and Kelly engaging in sex acts with his 14-year-old goddaughter.
The threat came from Derrel McDavid, Kelly’s former business manager and one of his two co-defendants, after Van Allen and another man returned the tape to the singer in 2007, six years after Van Allen took it from Kelly’s recording studio, she said.
Van Allen also testified at Kelly’s 2008 trial. She told jurors in that case that she was 17 years old when she met Kelly in 1998. On Thursday, though, she acknowledged she was actually 18 at the time.
Van Allen told jurors that after she and Kelly started dating, Kelly brought the minor girl into their sex life, saying she was his 16-year-old neighbor. On three occasions, Van Allen, Kelly and the minor engaged in threesomes, which Kelly recorded. During the second threesome, Van Allen started to cry because “I didn’t wanna do it,” she said.
In 2000, during the third threesome, the three were interrupted by several of Kelly’s employees, Van Allen said. Kelly then told the minor girl — referred to in court as “Jane” — to run into the bathroom and hide. Van Allen said she later became very upset after she learned the girl was younger than 16.
That same year, Van Allen said, she found herself alone in Kelly’s recording studio where he stored his homemade sex tapes. She said she then played several of them on a VCR in search of a tape that contained footage of her having sex with Kelly. She eventually found one that contained three different scenes: one threesome of Van Allen, Kelly and “Jane,” and two other scenes of Kelly engaging in sex acts with only “Jane.”
“I didn’t want him watching the tape,” Van Allen said of Kelly.
Van Allen took that tape and mailed it to a friend of hers, Keith Murrell, in Kansas City.
Beau Brindley, McDavid’s lead defense attorney, pressed Van Allen about inconsistencies between her testimony Thursday and other previous sworn statements she’s made. Brindley pointed to Van Allen’s 2008 trial testimony in which she said, “I’ve never seen a tape with just Robert and ‘Jane.’”
Brindley also pointed out that, despite Van Allen saying she took the tape from Kelly to prevent him from watching it, she said she moved to return the tape to him six years later after learning that Kelly would pay $250,000 for its return.
Van Allen’s testimony came on the ninth day of Kelly’s trial. Prosecutors said Thursday that they will conclude their case late next week, then each defendant will present their case in chief.
A federal grand jury in Chicago indicted Kelly, 55, on 13 counts in July 2019, accusing him of producing and receiving child pornography, while also enticing minors to engage in illegal sexual activity. Earlier this year, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge in Brooklyn after he was found guilty of racketeering.
McDavid Milton Brown, Kelly’s two co-defendants and two of the singer’s former employees, are charged with one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, while McDavid also faces two counts of receiving child pornography and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Prosecutors allege Kelly and those in his inner circle paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in an effort to track down video tapes that Kelly made that allegedly show him engaging in sexual activity with underage victims.