One of R Kelly’s accusers has said the claim the disgraced R&B superstar was “railroaded” at his sex trafficking trial is “beyond insulting”.
The disgraced musician, 54, is facing decades behind bars after being found guilty of racketeering over his grooming and exploitation of young women.
His trial heard Kelly was a prolific sexual predator who used his fame and wealth to target vulnerable victims.
Bill Cosby’s publicist, Andrew Wyatt, sparked fury by claiming the singer was “railroaded” and blamed institutional racism for last month’s conviction.
Faith Rodgers, 24, was 19 when she met Kelly and alleges he abused her for over a year and knowingly infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.
She joined high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred – who represents many of the star’s accusers – for a press conference in Los Angeles and criticised Wyatt’s comments.
Ms Rodgers, who testified against Kelly, said: “To me, that term is beyond insulting. After meeting R Kelly at 19 years old, for that year and a half he manipulated me for his own enjoyment and sexually abused me and tried to control me.
“When I made the choice to come forward with my story, he threatened me on multiple occasions.”
Ms Rodgers, who describes herself as an advocate rather than victim or survivor, said Kelly released intimate pictures of her in a bid to silence her.
She said: “Despite the threats, I continued to tell what happened to me, and as a result R Kelly retaliated against me and published those photos. Even though he did this, I refused to back down and I still testified. R Kelly did receive a fair trial. And he was convicted based on that. He was not ‘railroaded’.”
Ms Rodgers, who was joined at the press conference by her parents, paid tribute to other survivors who had offered their support and said her only hope when Kelly is sentenced in May is he shows “remorse” for his actions.
She said: “There was a lot of arrogance shown in the courtroom by him and his attorneys, so what I would like to see at least at that time is a little bit of remorse and accountability. ”
Asked if she had a message for I Believe I Can Fly singer Kelly or if she would like an apology, Ms Rogers said: “I have nothing to say to him. The apology is his conviction.”
She added: “The biggest gift was not his conviction, but knowing I helped someone else in my shoes.”
Ms Rodgers, who appeared in documentary Surviving R Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, said she now wants to move on with her life.
She said: “I discovered I love to write, that’s what I’m good at. So hopefully you’ll see me years later, successful with this far behind me.”
Allred, the veteran women’s rights lawyer, represents three of the five victims who testified under oath in the criminal case against Kelly, as well as two other witnesses.
She too criticised the term “railroaded” and hit out at those “blaming” the victims of sexual abuse, noting similar claims in the trial of Harvey Weinstein.
Allred, 80, said: “It’s a sexual assault myth that if someone stays in an abusive relationship that it must not have been abusive. That’s a myth, it’s false.
“I just think the real question is not why they stay, but why the predators do what they do to abuse women.”