Disgraced American singer R Kelly has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribing an official for procuring a fake identification certificate a day before marrying 15-year-old singer Aaliyah.
The singer, who is already under arrest in a criminal case accusing him of recruiting underage girls for sex and having sexual relationship with a minor, was charged with a fresh case of bribing a government employee to marry an underage girl in 1994.
The fresh charges
It was alleged that on August 30, 1994 Kelly paid bribe to an Illinois government employee to a obtain fraudulent identification document for someone mentioned as Jane Doe in the court documents. The next day, Kelly married Aaliyah, then 18 years old, in a secret ceremony at a Chicago 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.
In a documentary aired on Kelly's scandalous life, Surviving Kelly, his former personal assistant, Demetrius Smith admitted having forged the papers for him. "I was in the room when they got married. I'm not proud of that. I had papers forged for them when Aaliyah was underaged. It was just a quick little ceremony, she didn't have on a white dress he didn't have on a tux. Just everyday wear. She looked worried and scared."
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.
How Kelly met 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.
Former backup singer Jovante Cunningham spoke about Kelly's misconduct with underage girls, including Aaliyah, in the documentary.
Cunningham, who was 14 years old when she met Kelly, said she found out about Kelly's and underage Aaliyah's sexual relationship. "We were out on the road with Aaliyah. On a tour bus, there really aren't many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don't want anybody to see you sleeping."
"So it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody's communicating, laughing. When the [room] door flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah," she said.
The scandalous history of R Kelly
Presently, Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been charged on 18 federal counts, including child pornography, kidnapping and forced labor in four states including Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York. He was arrested on July 11, 2019. In August fresh cases were registered against Kelly for two sex crimes in Minnesota in which he allegedly paid a teen girl $200 to dance nude in 2001. Presently under the 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 the 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 the horrific tales from women, family members of the victims and musicians from the industry. Soon after the documentary was aired, prosecutors from New York, Minnesota and Illinois charged Kelly with the alleged crimes.
Surviving R Kelly Part II: The Reckoning"
The second part of the documentary is all set to release on January 2, 2020. It will feature a commentary from journalist Jim DeRogatis, instrumental in reporting the singer's alleged abuses.
The documentary will introduce a new victim, Lanita Carter, a former employee of Kelly whom he allegedly assaulted in 2003. Jerhonda Pace, one of the singer's sexual abuse survivors, will reveal her past.