R. Kelly pleads not guilty to federal racketeering charges in New York

Singer denies bribing officials to obtain a fake I.D. in efforts to marry his underaged bride, 15-year-old starlet Aaliyah

r. kelly theGrio.com
(Photo by Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images)

Through his attorney, R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges in New York. Kelly’s attorney entered the plea from a Chicago courtroom on Wednesday, alongside the singer.

READ MORE: R. Kelly charged with bribing official for fake ID to marry Aaliyah when she was 15

The Justice Department added the bribery charge against Kelly after authorities found that Kelly obtained a false identification document for a woman, back on Aug. 30, 1994. The New York Times, citing a source knowledgeable on the matter, reported the unidentified woman was singer Aaliyah Haughton, who Kelly reportedly married when she was 15 years old. According to The Times, Kelly reportedly bribed an Illinois government official to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah so he could marry her. The fake marriage license listed her age as 18.

Their marriage was annulled in 1995 after Aaliyah’s family became aware of it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Kelly and his attorney, Steve Greenberg, appeared remotely in the Chicago courtroom and told the judge from the Eastern District of New York that he understood the charges against him.

The New York indictment alleges that Kelly bribed and transported women and girls across state lines to take part in illegal sexual activity. Kelly pleaded not guilty in August to racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child charges in Brooklyn.

After yesterday’s court proceedings, another one of Kelly’s attorneys, Douglas Anton, said the singer was maintaining well behind bars and is even writing some “uplifting” song lyrics while in jail.

Kelly, 52, faces federal and state child sexual abuse charges in several jurisdictions.

In other R. Kelly news, next month, Lifetime will air its sequel to the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries. According to DeadlineSurviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning, is the next series on the singer that will feature interviews with additional survivors, as well as psychologists, lawyers, and other experts.

The sequel is executive produced by dream hampton, who created “Surviving R. Kelly”; Joel Karsberg and Jesse Daniels of Kreativ Inc.; Tamra SimmonsMaria Pepin; and Brie Miranda Bryant executive producers for the network. Sudi Khosropur is the co-executive producer.