Jack Palladino — a private investigator best known for being hired by Bill Clinton to track down women he'd been linked with — testified Thursday that the fiance of the prosecution's star witness wanted a $300,000 payoff to keep the witness quiet in the R. Kelly case.
Palladino, of San Francisco, was hired by Kelly to conduct investigations connected to the child pornography case against the singer.
The star witness, Lisa Van Allen, testified Monday that she had engaged in threesomes with R. Kelly and the underage girl who allegedly appears in a sex tape with the singer. As part of her testimony, she said she and her fiance, Yul Brown, met with Palladino in March, and that the investigator threatened her.
Palladino said that even before flying to Atlanta for the meeting, "I had a very good idea they would try to extort money... I wanted to give them the opportunity to commit the crime."
According to Palladino, Brown solicited the bribe by mentioning a $300,000 book deal Van Allen potentially had to tell the story of her life with Kelly.
"I didn't believe there was a book deal. The $300,000 was a coded way to get money from my client," Palladino said. The investigator said he unequivocally told Brown that Kelly would not pay them anything.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Bob Heilingoetter noted that neither Brown or Van Allen had ever explicity asked for money.
"I'm trying to figure out where this extortion is, except somewhere between your ears," Heilingoetter said.
But Palladino testified the two repeatedly said they wanted to do what was best for their family and urged the investigator to talk to Kelly.
"There's little doubt about what that meant... It meant, 'I want to take care of them financially'," Palladino said.
Heilingoetter noted Palladino was paid $15,000 for the Atlanta trip. "So for $15,000, you found out that Yul Brown wanted to do what's best for his family. Nice work, detective," Heilingoetter said.
Palladino said he recorded the conversation.