R. Kelly married Aaliyah to stop her from testifying: prosecutors

The underaged singer was allegedly pregnant at the time when Kelly rushed to marry her

R. Kelly’s federal trial in New York kicked off in a Brooklyn courtroom this week, where he’s facing racketeering and sex trafficking and additional charges.

The disgraced singer made an appearance on Wednesday (Aug. 18), where opening statements against him included explosive details about his intimate relationship with late singer Aaliyah, Revolt reports.

R. Kelly Aaliyah thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

Prosecutor and Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez claimed Kelly illegally married Aaliyah in 1994 because he thought she might be pregnant. Kelly was 27-years-old at the time and the songstress was only 15.

Kelly’s rush to wed Aaliyah was to keep her from testifying against him should there be questions about his sexual relationship with a minor. 

“One night in 1994, while the defendant was on tour, he got some news about Aaliyah,” Melendez addressed the court, according to court documents obtained by XXL. “She thought that she was pregnant. This, of course, was a huge problem for him. Why? Because at the time Aaliyah was only 15-years-old and if she was pregnant, that meant that there would be questions, a lot of questions. At the very top of that list of questions would be: Who is the father of that baby?”

“So, the defendant and his circle came up with a plan, a plan that the defendant thought would keep Aaliyah from talking and a plan that would keep him out of jail if anyone found out,” she continued. “… The defendant decided that he needed to marry Aaliyah. That way, as far as he understood, if anyone found out about the pregnancy, about his sexual activity with her, Aaliyah could not talk. In other words, if she’s his wife, then she can’t testify against him, or so he thought.”

Earlier this year it was revealed in a court filing that witnesses informed federal prosecutors about Kelly marrying his protégé in an attempt to avoid criminal charges. In the court documents, Aaliyah, who passed away in 2001, is only referred to as “Jane Doe #1” but the details alleged in the case make her identity clear, theGRIO reported.

“Witnesses have advised the government that the defendant engaged in this bribery scheme to obtain a marriage license so he could quickly and secretly marry Jane Doe #1 to avoid criminal charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with Jane Doe #1, who was a minor at the time,” prosecutors wrote. “Specifically, the defendant believed that his marriage to Jane Doe #1 would prevent her from being able to testify against him in the event he were prosecuted for his criminal sexual relationship with her.”

Musician R. Kelly departs the Leighton Criminal Court building after pleading not guilty to 11 additional sex-related charges, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

A revision of the federal indictment in Brooklyn says that Kelly was accused of hatching a bribery scheme to obtain a phony identification for Aaliyah in 1994 when they were married, the Sun-Times reported, Kelly allegedly paid a Chicago public official $500 to acquire a fake ID for her, which claimed she was 18-years-old.

Aaliyah and Kelly wed on Aug. 31, 1994, but her parents annulled the marriage six months later. 

Kelly has been charged with child pornography and obstruction in Chicago and sexual abuse charges in Cook County, Ill., and in Minneapolis. If convicted, he faces between 10 years to life in prison.

He has pleaded not guilty to the federal racketeering charges in Brooklyn related to the Aaliyah accusation. He also pleaded not guilty to the other charges of sexually abusing minors.

*This story contains additional reporting from theGRIO’s Blue Telusma.

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