R. Kelly's latest sexual assault accuser, Jerhonda Pace, probably won't have to worry about a lawsuit after breaking a non-disclosure agreement to share her story in an explosive new interview on Buzzfeed, attorney Lisa Bloom told TooFab.
According to the lawyer, who has represented victims of sexual assault for the past 31 years, the negative publicity R. Kelly would receive if he filed a lawsuit would be "more of an economic cost than some small amount of money he might get in the case."
"Most of these agreements have penalty clauses... usually it's a very substantial amount. R. Kelly's team has to assess: Is it worth suing her? No. 1, that's going to generate a lot of negative publicity for him," Bloom told TooFab. "No. 2, she probably doesn't have the money, so what's the point of suing her? It's just an act of being vindictive."
Pace was 15 when she first met Kelly in 2008 -- outside the very court house where he was battling charges on 14 counts of making child pornography, which he was ultimately acquitted of, despite appearing in a sex tape with what prosecutors alleged was a 14-year-old girl. Pace began her sexual relationship with Kelly when she was 16 after being invited to a party the R&B star was throwing. According to Buzzfeed, Pace shared a "detailed and well-documented story of accepting cash settlements from the star in return for signing nondisclosure agreements."
"I know speaking out against Kelly, Kelly could sue me. But I'm really not worried about it anymore," Pace told Buzzfeed. "I feel like this is a healing process for me because I've been holding this in for so many years, and to see that he always gets away with it, it's just not right."
Bloom told TooFab a legal case against Pace "would be easy" for Kelly to pursue, but it's more complicated.
"In the one sense, it would be an easy case for [Kelly] if she signed an agreement of confidentiality and then she spoke out -- that's a pretty open and shut case -- but for somebody who's a celebrity, like R. Kelly, there are other factors to weigh in the calculation," she said.
Although Pace did breach contract by speaking publicly about her past with Kelly, that does not necessarily take precedence over the fact that he had sex with her when she was underage.
Bloom, a Los Angeles-based attorney who recently made headlines for representing Blac Chyna in her dispute with ex Rob Kardashian and represented a woman accusing Usher of failing to disclose he had an STD before they had sex, is doubtful a trial will arise from Pace's account, even though the woman is considering pursuing criminal charges against Kelly.
"Trials are actually very rare," Bloom said, because "95 percent of cases settle."
"So many of these cases are settled quietly, they go away. Women don't want to stand up for their rights in a public way via a lawsuit," Bloom said. "They don't want to go through that, which is unfortunate to me because we have so much sexual assault in our culture."
"I just think [Pace's] story is very sad," she added. "R. Kelly was on trial for child pornography. Here she is, 15 years old, and according to her, he embarks on a relationship with her. They met at his child porn trial. His behavior is so flagrant, and there are so many women. It is unfortunate. I would hope there would be some criminal prosecutions that would happen. It's never too late. The criminal authorities can pursue that. We need to see that."