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'The Apology Is His Conviction': Faith Rodgers Speaks for First Time Since R. Kelly Trial

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/8/2021 Meghan Roos
Faith Rodgers spoke publicly on Friday for the first time since R. Kelly was convicted on sex trafficking and racketeering charges. Above, Faith Rodgers looks on during a press conference in Manhattan to discuss her allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse against singer R. Kelly on January 14, 2019 in New York City. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Faith Rodgers spoke publicly on Friday for the first time since R. Kelly was convicted on sex trafficking and racketeering charges. Above, Faith Rodgers looks on during a press conference in Manhattan to discuss her allegations of sexual, physical and mental abuse against singer R. Kelly on January 14, 2019 in New York City.

Faith Rodgers, one of many women who accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse before the R&B singer's conviction on sex trafficking and racketeering charges last month, shook her head "no" on Friday when asked during a press conference if she wanted an apology from Kelly.

"The apology is his conviction," Rodgers told reporters during the press conference, which was hosted in Los Angeles by her attorney, Gloria Allred.

Reporters asked Rodgers what she wants to see when Kelly is sentenced, which is expected to happen next May. Rodgers, who testified during the six-week trial in New York as one of the prosecution's many witnesses, said she noticed "a whole lot of arrogance" coming from Kelly and his attorneys in the courtroom.

Looking forward to next spring's sentencing hearing, "What I would like to see, at least by that time, is a little bit of remorse and accountability," Rodgers said.

She was also asked what she would say to Kelly if given the chance to address him directly.

"I have nothing to say to him," she responded.

Friday's press conference marked the first time Rodgers spoke publicly since Kelly's conviction on September 27. In a news release distributed ahead of the press conference, Allred said Rodgers also planned to address comments comedian and actor Bill Cosby recently made in support of Kelly through his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt. Cosby's own sexual assault conviction was overturned earlier this year.

Shortly after Kelly's guilty verdict was announced, TMZ spoke with Wyatt, who said he had discussed the conviction with Cosby. Cosby said he believed Kelly had been "railroaded," Wyatt told TMZ.

"Based on the evidence admitted at trial, the jury, after nine hours of deliberation, decided that R. Kelly was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that he should be convicted," Allred told reporters Friday. "R. Kelly was not 'railroaded.' He was convicted based on the evidence."

Rodgers added it was "disheartening" to see some people portraying Kelly as a victim. She said Kelly had repeatedly threatened her in an effort to prevent her from sharing her experiences publicly, which she first did in 2018.

"R. Kelly did receive a fair trial," Rodgers told reporters. "He was not railroaded."

Rodgers, now 24, filed a lawsuit against Kelly in May 2018 accusing the singer of "mentally, sexually and verbally" abusing her during the time they were together, which Rodgers estimated to be about one year, according to the Associated Press. She also alleged in her lawsuit that Kelly gave her a sexually transmitted disease during their time together.

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Less than one year later, Rodgers appeared in the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, which aired in early 2019 and revived discussions about the allegations that had been circling since the mid-1990s about Kelly's treatment of women.

Kelly's trial in New York began in mid-August and concluded after six weeks. The Brooklyn jury announced its guilty verdict on racketeering charges and Mann Act violations on September 27. He could face life in prison for the New York conviction and is facing additional charges in Illinois and Minnesota, though trial dates for those charges have not yet been set.

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