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“I didn’t have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him.He’s brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson.”“I just really hope I can help these women out,” she says.Once the trial began in May 2008, she attended the proceedings every day until Kelly’s acquittal on June 13 of that year.If convicted, Kelly could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison. “I wanted to see everything for myself.” That included watching the notorious video when it was shown several times in court.(While working at the Chicago Sun-Times, this reporter received the tape anonymously and turned it over to the police; called by Kelly's attorneys to testify, he took the Fifth Amendment rather than revealing sources.)Looking back, Pace says she attended the trial because she was a fan and wanted to know what happened. Prosecutors alleged that the 26-minute, 39-second video depicted Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, urinating in her mouth, and ordering her to call him “daddy.” Pace says watching the video was “disturbing.” But because the girl and her parents never testified— though 14 other witnesses, including her aunt, did identify the girl — Pace says she thought, Well, maybe that’s not the girl.
“Even though I had already met him at his trial, I was like literally at his house, so it did not feel real.” She remembers Kelly calling her over to the bar and telling her he had noticed her at the trial.He then asked for her cell phone and entered his number in it.“At the time I was still, you know, pretty starstruck, so I was in disbelief,” she says.Outside of court at the time, she defended Kelly to multiple news outlets. Pace says she met Kelly when he was walking into the court building."They can't call him a pedophile anymore," Pace, then 15, told MTV. The star “seemed like a cool guy, and he would always speak to me when he saw me,” she recalls.