R. Kelly’s lawyer admits the singer married Aaliyah at 15 but claims she lied about her age

Claudine Varela
Jan 15, 2019
08:54 A.M.

R. Kelly's lawyer insists his client was unaware Aaliyah was under the legal age when he married her despite a video reemerging proving otherwise. He also defends his client against claims relating to his alleged hostage Joycelyn Savage and Lady Gaga's recent comments.


R. Kelly’s lawyer has spoken up in his client’s defense in a brand new interview where he denies claims against the singer raised by the docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly.” Among them, he insists Kelly was unaware that Aaliyah was 15 when he married her.


"In order to get married she had to lie about her age.”


Last week, Kelly got quite a beating after the release of the Lifetime series which painted him as a sexual offender who assaulted minors and ran a sex cult, among others.

The producers of the show touched base with over 50 people who shed light on Kelly’s sexual encounters. Several of his female victims spoke up and accused him of abusing them.

It was a reinforcement of claims that haunted the singer for years which he vehemently denied. He even got an acquittal in 2008 when he was charged with child pornography.



With the reemergence of his alleged sexual exploits following the release of the six-part documentary, Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg has come to his defense. He sat down with ABC to stifle the growing hatred against his client spawned by the accusations.

"I think R. Kelly is going to be the easiest client I ever had, because he didn't do anything wrong and he's not going to get charged with anything."

Greenberg began by saying he nor his client did not watch the documentary but knew enough to affirm that Kelly was not what the show pictured him to be.


"I’ve seen snippets of it; I’ve seen reports about it. And we know what happened and we know those things didn’t happen. The man was not operating a harem or a sex cult or holding people hostage or anything like that."



Among the issues Greenberg addressed was that of the late singer Aaliyah who Kelly allegedly married when she was only 15 and under the legal age. Greenberg didn’t deny the marriage but insisted Kelly was unaware that Aaliyah was a minor when he married her.

“My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15. And in order to get married she had to lie about her age.”


When host Linsey Davis pressed on the issue and clarified, “And he is saying he had no idea,” Greenberg reiterated,

“No idea.”


This information raised doubts after an old clip of Kelly and Aaliyah reappeared recently proving the singer knew about Aaliyah being underage. The clip taken in 1994 reveals Kelly recording with Aaliyah and stating that she was 14. He says,

"Right now I'm producing a very talented lady -- a young lady. She's 14, Aaliyah. She's real street."

He married the singer that same year.



Another issue addressed by Greenberg during the interview was that of Joycelyn Savage who was believed to be held hostage by Kelly and whose parents have been begging to see her.

In an interview with TMZ last year, the 23-year-old denied being held captive but her parents who appeared on the documentary insist she’s being controlled by Kelly.


Greenberg maintains Savage is a free woman who’s been seen publicly in Beverly Hills. He attributes the young woman’s refusal to see her parents as a result of a “bad relationship” she has with them.

“I'm sorry that he has a bad relationship with Joycelyn and that Joycelyn maybe doesn't want to talk to him, but Joycelyn is not a hostage. Joycelyn's been filmed by TMZ walking around Beverly Hills, she's been out in restaurants. She's free to talk to whoever she wants to and if she doesn't want to talk to her parents, then that's an internal family matter and they shouldn't be dragging Mr. Kelly down."



The determined lawyer also had something to say about Lady Gaga who recently renounced her past with Kelly. The singer collaborated with Kelly recording a song in 2013 which she now vowed to remove from streaming sites after she condemned him for his alleged exploits. At this, Greenberg remarked,

"Now, there were rumors about Mr. Kelly back then [in 2013]. What has changed between then and now? I’ll tell you what’s changed between then and now. She says, 'If I don’t disclaim my association with him, it might hurt my chance to get an Oscar.'"



Despite the outpour of hate that’s crashing down on Kelly coming from celebrities, and even his daughter, Joann Kelly who broke her silence and deemed him a “monster,” Greenberg is confident his client will see this through unharmed.

"I think R. Kelly is going to be the easiest client I ever had, because he didn't do anything wrong and he's not going to get charged with anything. So I’m not going to have to do anything."

Kelly appeared to be unbothered by the controversy when he celebrated his birthday at a nightclub on Wednesday. However, news outlets also revealed he was checked into a hospital due to panic attacks following the release of the docuseries.

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