R. Kelly’s manager threatened her over stolen video

CHICAGO (AP) — A former girlfriend of R. Kelly wept on the witness stand Thursday as she testified that a Kelly business executive told her in 2007 that she should have been killed for causing so much trouble for the R&B star by stealing a video from a gym bag full of recordings of Kelly having sex with women and girls.

Prosecution witness Lisa Van Allen said she dug into the bag on a rare occasion when Kelly left it unattended in a studio one day in 2000. She said she then watched the videos one after the other on a VHS player. She took one which, among other images, showed Van Allen, Kelly and a young girl who testified against Kelly last week under the alias “Jane”, having sex.

Van Allen, 42, is so far the only witness to have testified in both Kelly’s ongoing federal trial as well as his 2008 state child pornography trial, in which Kelly was acquitted .

Kelly, who rose from poverty in Chicago’s South End to become a superstar singer, faces charges in her hometown of child pornography and incitement to sex with minors. The 55-year-old and co-defendant Derrel McDavid, the former entrepreneur, is also accused of rigging the 2008 trial by threatening witnesses and concealing video evidence.

Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge in New York in June on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. If convicted in the US District Court in Chicago, he could see years added to that sentence.

Van Allen, crying and reaching for tissues during her testimony on Wednesday, said it was McDavid who told her in 2007 at a Chicago attorney’s office that a polygraph had indicated she was untruthful at the about the video she had made. Kelly and his insiders feared that Van Allen had made other copies.

“He said I failed (the polygraph) and they should have killed me all along,” she testified, using a slang word for killed. She said she took the comment as a threat.

Van Allen also seemed shaken, though remembering McDavid’s response when she told him she was going to tell Kelly about McDavid’s threat.

“He said (Kelly) knew everything that was going on,” she said.

Kelly’s 2008 trial revolved around a different video that state prosecutors said showed Kelly abusing the girl called Jane during the Chicago federal trial. After acquitting Kelly in 2008, jurors said they had no choice because the girl did not appear in the witness box at that trial. Last week, Jane testified that she was the child in the video and Kelly was the grown man. The evidence at the current trial includes several videos.

Van Allen, who said he began a nine-year relationship with Kelly in 1998 when she was 18, said Kelly was obsessed with control, forbidding her to talk to other men and other men to talk to him. She told jurors that Kelly sometimes hit her because, as she said, “I wouldn’t listen to daddy.”

She testified that she only learned after Kelly filmed herself having sex with Van Allen and Jane that Jane was only 14 at the time.

Asked by a prosecutor how she felt watching the videos at the studio in 2000, Van Allen replied, “Disgusted.” She also remembered being nervous. Kelly could walk back into the room at any time, knowing he’d be furious if he saw what she was doing.

The same video she took of Kelly also contained footage of Kelly sexually abusing Jane in two different locations, Van Allen said. She said she took the tape because she never wanted Kelly or anyone else to see it. She said she decided in 2007 to return the tape she took and that, although she insisted she hadn’t pressured Kelly for money, he offered to pay $250,000 for it.

Under cross-examination, a defense attorney for McDavid, Beau Brindley, asked Van Allen that if her goal was to keep anyone from seeing it, why didn’t she just destroy it in 2000. She replied, “I could have if it crossed my mind.”

Brindley sought to cast doubt on her account that McDavid had threatened her. Her voice soaring, Brindley asked Van Allen if she was “willing to admit” that her claim that McDavid made a death threat “is a lie?”

“I’m not ready to admit it,” she shot back.

He asked her if she had ever had any indication that McDavid was “a murderous accountant” before their 2007 conversation about the polygraph test.

“Not until he said they should have walled (killed) me,” she replied.

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Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mtarm and find AP’s full coverage of the R. Kelly trial at https://apnews.com/hub/r-kelly.

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