Disgraced American singer and song writer R Kelly, currently under arrest for alleged sex crimes and obstruction of justice, was charged with a fresh case of allegedly bribing a government employee to marry an underage girl in 1994.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn claim the former King of R&B paid bribe to an Illinois government employee to obtain a fraudulent identification document for someone mentioned as Jane Doe in court documents. The alleged incident took place on August 30, 1994. The next day, Kelly reportedly married Aaliyah, then 18 years old, in a secret ceremony held at a Chicago-based hotel.
It is now believed that the Jane Doe mentioned in the court document was deceased singer Aaliyah, whose real age was 15 when she got married to Kelly. The marriage certificate showed her to be 18 years old. However, the marriage was dissolved after a few months because of her age. The former singer died at the age of 22 in a plane crash in 2001.
Responding to the fresh case, Steve Greenberg, Kelly's lawyer, said: "We're going to review the indictment, which we just got this afternoon. It doesn't look like it materially changes anything in the case. We continue to work on this and look forward to the day Robert is free." The 52-year-old singer's Chicago-based trial will begin in April while the New York-based criminal trial will begin in May 2020.
Life and times of the controversial singer
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was arrested on July 11, 2019. The Grammy award winner has been charged on 18 federal counts, including child pornography, kidnapping and forced labor. Presently under custody in Chicago, Kelly was denied bail in August.
It was in the 90's that allegations of sexual abuse against Kelly started surfacing, especially with underage girls. In 2002, he was charged with 13 counts of child pornography after a tape allegedly showing Kelly performing sexual acts with a 13-year-old went viral. The singer was acquitted of all the charges in 2008.
Kelly's fall came soon after Surviving R Kelly, a six-part documentary was aired in January. The documentary described alleged sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse committed by the musician, who allegedly spearheaded a racketeering organization to employ fans and underage girls for illegal sexual activity.
The documentary covered horrific tales from women, family members of alleged victims and musicians from the industry. Soon after the documentary was aired, prosecutors from New York, Minnesota and Illinois charged Kelly for the alleged crimes.
Who is Aaliyah?
Aaliyah became an overnight sensation after her first album, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number was released in 1994. The R&B singer, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, was 14 years old at that time. The album was written and produced by Kelly, who first met Aaliyah through Barry Hankerson, his manager and Aaliyah's uncle. She was 12 years old at that time.
Despite strong rumors, both Kelly and Aaliyah denied their marriage or any romantic involvement. A year after their reported marriage, Aaliyah dissolved their marriage at the request of her family members. The marriage was removed from her records in 1997.
In January this year, Steve Greenberg, Kelly's lawyer, while speaking on Good Morning America, compared Aaliyah-Kelly' marriage to Elvis and Priscilla Presley's marriage. Blaming Aaliyah for allegedly lying about her age, Greenberg said: "My understanding is Aaliyah did not claim to be 15. And in order to get married, she had to lie about her age."