Yesterday (Augusr 23rd), the prosecutors top witness in the R. Kelly federal trial Charles Freeman testified that the singer tried to cover up previous sexual assault and child pornography allegations and investigations. According to Freeman, Kelly called him around 2001 with a specific task: “recover some tapes.”

Freeman said he then heard from one of Kelly’s co-defendants, Derrel McDavid, as well as the infamous private investigator Jack Palladino, both of whom allegedly told Freeman he would get a “reward” if he retrieved the video. Freeman claimed he did not know what was on the tape at the time, stating only that McDavid described it as a “performance tape,” and that if Freeman got it back, “they would take care of me.”

In August 2001, Freeman signed a contract saying he’d get $100,000, plus expenses, if he recovered the tape. He also testified that McDavid told him he could earn $1 million for the job, though McDavid allegedly stressed, “We need the originals and make sure this is the actual evidence tape… It would look bad if we gave you a million dollars for a tape and it’s not the tape that we want.”