One of the mysteries surrounding R. Kelly's marriage to the late Aaliyah might have been solved after federal prosecutors filed new charges against the singer for bribing a government employee to get a fake ID for Aaliyah. The fake ID could have been used to help Kelly legally marry Aaliyah in 1994, when she was only 15 years old. A person familiar with the situation told The New York Times the ID listed Aaliyah's age as 18.
In the new indictment, Brooklyn federal prosecutors accused Kelly, 52, of paying an Illinois government official on Aug. 30, 1994 to produce a fake ID for Aaliyah. The indictment identifies Aaliyah only as "Jane Doe #1."
The new allegations build upon a racketeering indictment New York prosecutors filed in July. The indictment charged Kelly with one count of racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which makes taking people across state lines for prostitution illegal. Although Kelly was the only person indicted, prosecutors alleged that his managers, bodyguards and other members of his team helped recruit women and young girls to "engage in illegal sexual activity" with the "I Believe I Can Fly" singer, reports The New York Times.
One of the mysteries surrounding Kelly's marriage to Aaliyah, born Aaliyah Dana Haughton, was how it could happen legally in the first place. Steven Goldberg, Kelly's lawyer, told Good Morning America that his client did not know she was 15 at the time, but appeared to admit that Kelly did marry her when she was 15.
"...My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age," Goldberg claimed.
On Thursday, Greenberg told the Times the new indictment "does not appear to materially alter the landscape."
Another of Kelly's attorneys, Douglas Anton, told the Associated Press the latest charge is "ridiculous and abused."
When Kelly and Aaliyah married, the license, obtained by Vibe Magazine, showed Aaliyah's age as 18. Kelly was 27 at the time. The license was dated Aug. 31, 1994, just a day after Kelly allegedly paid to obtain the fake ID for Aaliyah.
Kelly himself left hints that he was aware of Aaliyah's real age, notes The Root. He produced her hit single and debut album, both titled Age Ain't Nothing But a Number. He also sang "little cute Aaliyah's got it" in the 1992 song "She's Got That Vibe." Kelly and Aaliyah also tried to avoid questions about her age in a BET interview later featured in Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly.
Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash at age 22.
The singer was previously acquitted on charges of videotaping himself having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 2008. However, the broadcast of Surviving R. Kelly on Lifetime in January renewed interest in his relationships with younger women. A month after it aired, he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal abuse. Kelly denied the allegations in a combative interview with CBS This Morning's Gayle King in May.
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