Prosecutors have opened their file on R. Kelly and his illegal marriage to Aaliyah.
According to the New York Times, the disgraced R&B singer appeared in court on Wednesday to begin his federal racketeering trial, in which he faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse.
In her opening statements, Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez mentioned Kelly’s alleged marriage with Aaliyah in 1994, when he was 27 and she was 15. She said prosecutors believe Kelly had learned that Aaliyah had become pregnant and that he was the father of the unborn child. He then allegedly orchestrated a plan to marry the underage singer so she could avoid testifying against him in court.
“This was, of course, a huge problem for him,” Cruz Melendez said about Aaliyah’s purported pregnancy. “If she was pregnant that meant there would be questions: At the very top of that list of questions — who is the father of that baby?”
She noted that Kelly had bribed a Chicago official to provide a fake ID for Aaliyah, who is identified as “Jane Doe No. 1” in court documents. And authorities noted that the marriage certificate listed the late singer’s age as 18. The marriage was annulled a year later.
“This case is about a predator,” Cruz Melendez said, adding that Kelly used “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.”
Kelly had previously denied the charges.
He is facing a slew of charges in his racketeering case, including forced labor, kidnapping, sex trafficking, and multiple violations of the Mann Act, which criminalizes the transportation of “any woman or girl” across state lines for “immoral purposes.”
We can’t wait to see how this pans out.