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Witnesses called by the defence as R. Kelly trial continues

·2-min read

On Monday, the defence for R. Kelly began to present their witnesses.

Two of three witnesses took the stand in the defence of the singer, who is currently on trial for racketeering and other charges related to accusations that he sexually assaulted underage girls.

The first witness to take the stand was an aspiring musician named Dhanai Ramnanan, otherwise known as Da-Ni. Ramnanan met Kelly in the mid-2000s, after which he worked with the singer on and off for 15 years. The musician described the 54-year-old as "a mentor to me, and a good friend," and described his behaviour toward women as "gentlemanly."

The prosecution grilled the witness on his relationship with Kelly, and when asked to provide details on certain claims, he struggled to recall specifics. Ramnanan alleged he was a part of the singer's close inner circle, but had not previously come up in filings along with dozens of other close associates.

The second witness was Larry Hood, a former classmate and security guard for the singer who worked several concerts for him in the early 1990s and 2000s. Hood claimed he never saw the singer behave inappropriately with underage girls, saying "his job as a policeman would have compelled him to act if he had seen anything abusive take place," according to Rolling Stone.

Hood is a former Chicago police officer who was let go from the force after he was convicted of forgery. He was examined about his knowledge of Kelly's relationship to the late singer Aaliyah, who he allegedly married while she was underage in 1994.

As for the third witness, the defence contended that they were running into issues funding the person's travel to New York and that the list of witnesses would be finalised the following day. Judge Ann Donnelly, who is presiding over the case, appeared confused by uncertainty, saying, "Haven't we already settled that?"

The prosecution wrapped up its case earlier in the day. Their case consisted of 40 witnesses, including 11 alleged abuse victims.

The trial, which began on 19 August, continues on Tuesday.

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