R. Kelly Prosecutors Believe Kelly Married an Underage Aaliyah to Stop Her From Testifying That He Impregnated Her
R. Kelly made an appearance in a Brooklyn courtroom this week and new details were unveiled in connection to the nine charges he's facing including racketeering and violations to the Mann Act, a federal law that criminalizes any woman or girl being transported for prostitution purposes. Within the uncovered information, prosecutors discussed Kelly's marriage to R&B singer Aaliyah, who was underage at the time.
According to court information obtained by XXL on Thursday (Aug. 19), the disgraced Chicago singer's long-awaited trial in New York City began on Wednesday (Aug. 18). During Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez's opening statement, which was also acquired by XXL this morning, she alleged that Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, and the late Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2001, married in 1994, when they were 27 and 15 years old, respectively. This info has been widely spread throughout the years following Aaliyah's death.
Cruz Melendez went on to reveal that prosecutors have reason to believe the motive for the singers' marriage was because R. Kelly found out that Aaliyah could have been pregnant, and since she was underage, if Aaliyah became Kelly's wife, that would prevent her from testifying against him in court if anyone were to ever find out.
"One night in 1994, while the defendant was on tour, he got some news about Aaliyah," Cruz Melendez's opening statement began. "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?"
The Assistant District Attorney continued: "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. His plan, 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."
Cruz Melendez shared that because R. Kelly was on tour at the time, he flew to Chicago where Aaliyah met him at an airport hotel to set up their nuptial. Aaliyah's age posed an issue, so the Illinois-bred singer allegedly bribed a Chicago public official to get her a fake ID that had her age listed as 18 years old in order to obtain their marriage license. Kelly's team reportedly paid about $500 for the fake ID.
They were married on Aug. 31, 1994, and their union was annulled six months later thanks to Aaliyah's parents.
Cruz Melendez's statement also labeled Kelly a "predator."
"This case is about a predator," she said, adding that the troubling singer's public appeal enabled him to use "his fame, his popularity and a network of people at his disposal to target, groom and exploit young girls, boys and women for his own sexual gratification."
R. Kelly, who is facing multiple sexual misconduct charges in New York, his home city of Chicago and elsewhere, has maintained his innocence since he was arrested in July of 2019. Based on the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate lookup, Kelly is currently housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
If he is found guilty, Kellz can face between 10 years to life in prison.
According to Chicago's ABC 7 last month, Kelly was accused of also sexually abusing underage boys.
XXL has reached out to R. Kelly's legal team for a comment.