*R. Kelly made an appearance for his federal trial in Brooklyn on Aug. 18, during which prosecutor and Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez made opening statements about his sexual relationship with late singer Aaliyah.
According to court documents obtained by XXL, Melendez told the court that in 1994, Kelly believed he impregnated Aaliyah and rushed to illegally marry her to keep her from testifying against him should questions ever arise about who the father of the child might be.
At the time of their marriage, Kelly was 27 and Aaliyah was 15.
“One night in 1994, while the defendant was on tour, he got some news about Aaliyah,” Melendez said in court. “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.”
Kelly allegedly bribed a Chicago public official with $500 to acquire a fake ID for Aaliyah, which claimed she was 18 years old, prior to their marriage on Aug. 31, 1994. The singer’s parents annulled the union the following February.
As reported by Uproxx, R. Kelly “stands accused of numerous criminal acts, among them, bribing government officials, knowingly giving two women a sexually transmitted disease, and psychologically and physically abusing the women under his influence,” the outlet writes.
Per Daily Beast, Kelly is charged in New York with racketeering related to sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, and forced labor. He is also charged with transporting his alleged victims across state lines for sex, a violation of the Mann Act.
If convicted, R. Kelly, who is battling similar charges in Chicago and Minnesota, faces between 10 years to life in prison.