R. Kelly‘s sex trafficking trial continued Thursday with his ex-manager, Tom Arnold, taking the stand as the twelfth witness, testifying that the singer would punish employees by withholding pay, or fining them over small transgressions.
Arnold served as Kelly’s studio and tour manager from 1998 to 2011, reports Billboard, and told the court Kelly would punish staffers by hitting them in the wallet, and that there were “quite a few” occasions where Kelly docked his pay over “menial” mistakes.
One standout claim was that Kelly “fined” his employees “because someone ate his donuts.” Arnold also alleged he lost a week’s salary because he hired a male tour guide, instead of a woman, to take Kelly and his companions around Disney World. Because of that, Arnold said Kelly docked his pay $1,500 and canceled his Disney getaway.
Arnold said he quit after that, telling the court, “My wife wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy, Rob wasn’t happy,” referring to Kelly by his birth name, Robert.
Arnold’s testimony was similar to claims made by former assistant Anthony Navarro, who also told the court about Kelly’s methods of punishing staffers.
During cross-examination, Arnold recalled the number of famous individuals visiting Kelly at his recording studio and confirmed people around him were “eager” to sue him. Because of that, Kelly required all guests to sign confidentiality agreements.
Kelly, 54, whose birth name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, faces state and federal charges for sex trafficking, racketeering, coercion and other charges related to the alleged abuse and exploitation of six women — three of whom were underage at the time — over the course of 25 years. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
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