R Kelly – Credit: Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune / AP

Diana Copeland, longtime executive assistant to R. Kelly, spoke about her work for the singer and the strict policies he imposed on people living in his orbit in an interview on Hello america Friday September 17th.

Copeland, who testified at Kelly’s trial earlier this week, said she had never witnessed the alleged abuse Kelly is accused of. “[I] I’ve never witnessed anything under… around underage women, ”she said. “Now I was coming and going, so I mean, I want to make sure I’m clear that my experience doesn’t negate anyone else’s experience.”

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Kelly is currently facing several charges including racketeering, sex trafficking, sex with minors, sexual abuse and bribery. He pleaded not guilty to all counts and denied all charges against him.

Copeland was previously named in a civil lawsuit against Kelly that was filed in 2018 and is still pending. The accuser claimed Kelly would close her rooms and enlist Copeland to stand guard. Kelly and Copeland have both denied the charges.

Copeland worked for Kelly on a semi-regular basis for around 16 years, saying she primarily oversaw her estate, handling housekeepers, nannies and doing other housework. Copeland also explained that Kelly often had several girlfriends at home, while other women also visited him frequently. While several witnesses said Kelly took them to his home when they were minors, Copeland said none of the women she saw around Kelly were minors and she knew their age as she was preparing the trip.

“They varied in age,” Copeland said of the women. “Person under the age of 18. In fact, when this matter was brought up, I read that women are locked up and kidnapped, and things of that nature. And that’s not what I see. I don’t see anyone trying to leave or any locked doors. All the women who remain walked through the door.

Those who lived with Kelly were under strict rules, Copeland said (similar allegations have also been made during Kelly’s trial so far). “In these properties, there was like, a certain decorum that was expected,” Copeland said. “He pretty much didn’t want the girls to come around, but he didn’t want anyone to be able to walk around his house like a museum.”

Copeland spoke of Kelly’s ostensible rules prohibiting these women from talking to other men, which she was also questioned about during her testimony. Noting that sometimes during races, women “would ask me to interact with men,” Copeland added that she could not specifically tell if Kelly had ordered women not to talk to men, but added, ” Looks like you can pretty much assume it probably was.

Copeland, however, declined to say if she believes women are afraid of Kelly and break her rules. She also said Kelly’s rules raised no red flags, saying she mostly knew “Robert the family man, the businessman.” But his personal life is Robert’s personal life. So my work stops at the threshold of his bedroom door.

At the end of the interview, when asked if she would have done anything different during her time working for Kelly, Copeland said, “Looking back, I think I would have done the right thing. the same way I did. I don’t think everything I did was wrong, nor do I think anything I could have done would have changed what Robert did.

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