“Accused: The R. Kelly Story” featured new interviews with Tracy Sampson, who first spoke to the Washington Post in May 2018, and Jerhonda Pace, the subject of an August 2017 Buzzfeed exposé. Both women claim that they were underage when they entered into a sexual relationship with Kelly.
Sampson, now 36 years old, told Dateline she was a 16-year-old intern working at Epic Records in 1999 when she met Kelly. “‘Can I kiss you?’ and I was like, ‘No,’” she said the singer asked her. “‘Well, give me a hug.’ And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me.”
Sampson added, “I was in love with him. I just didn’t know what to do. Like, I didn’t know if this was normal. I didn’t know if this is how adults acted.”
The Dateline interview marked the first time Sampson discussed her allegations on-camera; she signed a non-disclosure agreement with Kelly in 2002 after agreeing to a $250,000 settlement.
Pace, in addition to detailing the allegations she made in the Buzzfeed article, told Dateline she handed over a T-shirt with Kelly’s DNA – both from saliva and semen – to a Chicago-area police department, who confirmed that Pace had provided them with evidence. Pace claimed the T-shirt was worn during a sexual encounter she had with the singer when she was 16 years old.
Dateline also spoke to Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg. In the hours preceding the special, it was revealed that Kelly and Sony Music and RCA Records had parted ways, and in his comments to NBC, Greenberg revealed, “The record companies are abandoning him. Other artists are all of a sudden acting like they’re shocked by these rumors that are floating around. He’s having a very difficult time. But he is strong, he’s tough. He wants to put out his music and continue performing for people. And I expect that’s what he’ll be able to do.”
Dateline‘s hour-long special followed Lifetime’s six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, whose cameras captured a daring reunion between Michelle Kramer and her daughter Dominique, who had been estranged from her mother while a part of Kelly’s alleged “sex cult.” Accused: The R. Kelly Story provided an update on the reunited mother and daughter:
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) January 19, 2019