The more we know, the worse it gets!
Source: Chicago Tribune / Getty
When it comes to R. Kelly, there’s alcways more sick sh*t to uncover. Buzzfeed News reports that on the 18th day of testimony, Cheryl Mack took the witness stand in the disgraced singer’s sex trafficking and racketeering trial on Friday. Mack, who is the mother of platinum music producer London On Da Track, stated that she didn’t want to be part of the trial, but she was subpoenaed by the prosecutors.
She first started working with Kelly in 2009 as a talent manager for a 17-year-old artist identified in court as Precious. Kelly offered to collaborate with Precious on her music and invited her to work in his studio. The young artist even started living in a hotel near the singer’s home. Mack said the partnership ended “abruptly” and Kelly demanded that she travel from Atlanta to Chicago immediately because her client threatened to sue him for sexual harassment. “He told me she was trying to file a lawsuit, and I needed to pick a team.”
That choice came with what Mack described as a threat from Kelly, “In these situations, people come up missing.” His manager and lawyer rushed Mack into signing a pre-written affidavit without even reading it. She recalled seeing questions about whether Kelly had sexual contact with Precious or gave her alcohol, but she isn’t sure if ever answered them.
The Chicago attorney who helped keep R. Kelly's settlements with victims out of the courts (and out of the news) for decades: My latest on the stories behind the trial @NewYorker. https://t.co/5lA2P7rTnk
— Jim DeRogatis (@JimDeRogatis) September 14, 2021
It is unclear exactly what happened to Precious and her potential lawsuit against Kelly. Mack didn’t see Kelly again until she was working with Devyne Stephens, who was behind a comeback for the Pied Piper in 2013. After they reconnected, she continued working closely with Kelly as his executive assistant.
During her time as an assistant, she was bullied into signing one of the incriminating false apology letters other witnesses and survivors of Kelly’s abuse previously discussed. I apologized out of fear. I was 1,000% scripted,” Mack said. He was also financially abusive as a boss, refusing to pay her for 3 – 6 months as punishment for booking a performance that didn’t Kelly didn’t think paid enough money.
She saw firsthand how the very young women in his company were subjected to strict and humiliating rules like having to face the wall or flee the presence of any other men. While in his hotel room after a show, she also witnessed a young woman giving Kelly a massage that made the former assistant “very uncomfortable. That wasn’t my business, I was there to work.” That woman is one of the Kelly’s accusers in the trial who was only publicly identified as “Jane.”
For nearly a month, reporter Anastasia Tsioulcas has been in a New York courtroom to cover R. Kelly's federal trial. After hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses, here's what she can't stop thinking about: https://t.co/IDECS4vS3D
— NPR (@NPR) September 16, 2021
The next day, Mack quit after Kelly lost his temper, screaming and cursing at her in the middle of a McDonald’s over a spoiled birthday surprise for his stylist at the time. So far everyone who worked with Kelly, seemed to be an enabler, a victim of abusive behavior themselves, or a combination of both.
Throughout her tesimony, Mack was very emotional. She often required long pauses before she could continue answering questions on the stand. Courtroom drawings depicted her clutching tissue for her tears. The trial will resume next week with more testimony from clinical psychologist Dana Hughesa bout how underage girls are groomed for and cope with sexual abuse.