A former talent manager and assistant of R. Kelly’s testified that he threatened her after learning that her 17-year-old client planned to file a lawsuit against him, Buzzfeed reports. She quoted Kelly as saying at the time, “Generally around these situations, people come up missing.”
Kelly is currently facing several charges, including racketeering, sex trafficking, sex with minors, sex abuse, and bribery. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all accusations against him.
During testimony in a Brooklyn court on Friday, September 17th, Cheryl Mack — who worked as a manager before officially joining Kelly’s team — spoke about an incident that took place around 2009. Mack was managing an aspiring 17-year-old singer, who was identified in court as “Precious.” Mack organized a collaboration between Kelly and Precious, and Precious spent some time working at Kelly’s home studio in Chicago while staying at a nearby hotel with her mother. Eventually, Kelly and Precious stopped working together.
Mack testified that afterward, Kelly summoned her to his home and claimed that Precious was prepping a lawsuit against him that involved sexual harassment. “He told me she was trying to file a lawsuit, and I needed to pick a team,” Mack recalled, adding that this is also when Kelly allegedly told her that this is when “people come up missing.” “I took it as a threat,” Mack added.
Following her conversation with Kelly, Mack said, she was taken to the office of Kelly’s lawyer where she was given a pre-written affidavit, which she said she signed without reading because she was anxious to leave. She did say during her testimony that the affidavit included yes-or-no questions about whether Kelly had sexual relations with Precious or gave her alcohol; Mack said she didn’t remember answering these questions. While it’s unclear if Precious ended up filing a lawsuit, Mack said she eventually learned the allegations had been “resolved.”
Mack said she occasionally worked with Kelly during her time as a talent manager, sometimes talking with him about collaborating with various artists and songwriters she represented. After helping Kelly develop his Black Panties tour in 2013, she started serving as his assistant in 2014. She stopped working for Kelly in 2015.
Some of her testimony about her time on Kelly’s team echoed those given by others in the singer’s orbit, especially regarding the strict rules Kelly allegedly made the women around him follow. She also spoke about Kelly’s treatment of her, saying he once refused to pay her for several months to offset the ostensible difference in what he thought he should’ve been paid for a show she’d booked. After another dispute over money, Mack claimed she had to write an apology letter to Kelly, testifying, “I apologized out of fear. I was 1,000% scripted.”
As to whether Mack witnessed any of the alleged abuse Kelly is accused of, she said in 2015, after one of Kelly’s shows, she was sitting in a hotel room with Kelly and Jane, a name given to one of the women Kelly has been accused of abusing. Mack said Jane began massaging Kelly’s legs, which Mack took as her “cue to leave.” She added: “I was very uncomfortable. That wasn’t my business, I was there to work.”