R Kelly Accused of Reportedly Bribing Government Employee for Fake ID before Marrying 15-Year-Old Aaliyah

Maria Varela
Dec 09, 2019
09:21 A.M.
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A new indictment in connection to R. Kelly's racketeering case alleges the singer illegally purchased a fake ID for an underage Aaliyah in order to marry her in 1994 as an 18-year-old. His lawyer responds. 

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R. Kelly is facing new charges in relation to his illegal marriage to Aaliyah. According to a report by The New York Times, the singer obtained a fake ID for the late star by bribing a government official. 

In the past, Kelly repeatedly denied knowing Aaliyah was not of legal age when he married her. Through his lawyer, he insinuated the singer lied to him about her age. 

R. Kelly performing at the 2013 BET Awards show. | Photo: Getty Images

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Kelly’s controversial marriage to Aaliyah has been the subject of scrutiny ever since the documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly” was released and alleged that he married the young singer knowing she was underage. Aaliyah was 15 at the time.  

Kelly’s former tour manager, Demetrius Smith revealed in the documentary that he facilitated the purchase of the fake ID which indicated Aaliyah was 18. This allowed her to marry Kelly on August 31, 1994, the day after the ID was obtained. 

The late singer Aaliyah at MTV's 20th Anniversary party in New York in August 2001. | Photo: Getty Images

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Likewise, according to The  New York Times’ latest report, a person familiar with the matter but not identified also alleged that Kelly purchased a fake ID for Aaliyah. This was detailed in the latest indictment against the embattled star.  It was not specified in the indictment which government agency or official participated in the bribery. 

In the past, Kelly repeatedly denied knowing Aaliyah was not of legal age when he married her. Through his lawyer, he insinuated the singer lied to him about her age. However, an old interview of Kelly re-emerged this year, proving that Kelly was aware of how young Aaliyah was.  

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The video was taken in 1994, the same year Aaliyah released her first album produced by Kelly. In the clip featured by TMZ, Kelly introduces Aaliyah as a talented young lady and reveals she was only 14. 

Kelly eventually married Aaliyah that same year. But by February 1995, their marriage was annulled by a Michigan judge upon the request of Aaliyah’s parents. 

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Today, the allegations concerning Kelly’s obtaining of a fake ID for Aaliyah are being used against him in his ongoing racketeering case. He was arrested in July and faces four different sets of charges in three states for ostensibly coercing minors to engage in illegal sexual activities. 

Aaliyah, whose real name is Aaliyah Houghton, died in 2002 in a tragic plane crash. She is referred to as Jane Doe #1 in Kelly’s new indictment. Though her illegal marriage to Kelly happened in 1994 and would seem to fall outside of the statute of limitations, the singer’s racketeering charges allows evidence from any time period that may be part of the broad conspiracy.  

Kelly has pled not guilty to charges against him and remains in federal custody in Chicago. His lawyer, Steven Greenberg, in a statement to The New York Times thinks the latest indictment regarding the fake ID will not “materially alter the landscape” of Kelly’s case. 

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