R&B star R. Kelly, 41, arrives at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago
By CLEMENTE LISI
June 5, 2008 --
A private eye - whose celebrity clients include Bill Clinton - said this afternoon that R. Kelly's former girlfriend tried to shake down the R&B star for $300,000 in order to keep quiet about having threesomes with the singer and a teenage girl.
Former gal pal Lisa Van Allen testified Monday she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the girl, who allegedly appears in a sex tape with the Grammy Award-winning singer.
Van Allen said she and her fiance Yul Brown were threatened by Jack Palladino, a private eye working for the singer, during a meeting in March.
Palladino testified in a Chicago courtroom today that even before meeting the couple, he "had a very good idea they would try to extort money" from Kelly.
Palladino - hired by Kelly to thwart extortion plots stemming from various sex tapes - said the couple solicited the bribe by mentioning a potential $300,000 book.
"The $300,000 was a coded way to get money from [Kelly]," he said.
Palladino said the star refused to pay the couple.
Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges he made a videotape of himself having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Both Kelly and the alleged victim, now 23, deny they're on the tape.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, faces 15 years behind bars if convicted.
Under cross-examination, Palladino said Brown told him he wanted to do what was best for his family.
"There's little doubt about what that meant ... It meant, 'I want to take care of them financially,' " Palladino said.
Prosecutor Bob Heilingoetter pointed out Kelly paid Palladino $15,000 to take the trip to Atlanta.
"So for $15,000, you found out that Yul Brown wanted to do what's best for his family? Nice work, detective," Heilingoetter shot back sarcastically.