Monday, April 19, 2021

R. Kelly charged with bribery over 1994 marriage to Aaliyah

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Prosecutors in New York hit accused sexual predator R. Kelly with new bribery charges Thursday that appear to be related to his 1994 marriage to teen pop star Aaliyah.

A revised indictment in federal court in Brooklyn accuses Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a “fraudulent identification document” for someone identified only as “Jane Doe” on Aug. 30, 1994.

A day later, Kelly, then 27, married 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah Dana Haughton in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. Under pressure from her parents, the marriage was annulled months later because of her age.

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Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer for Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.”

The controversy over the marriage is one on a long list of Kelly’s legal woes stemming from accusations of physical and sexual abuse, with many of his accusers claiming they were underage at the time.

Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash on August 25, 2001, at the Marsh Harbour Airport on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. She was 22. She had just completed filming for the music video for her single “Rock the Boat.”

Kelly’s New Jersey defense attorney, Douglas Anton, on Thursday called the latest charge against his client “ridiculous and absurd.”

The Brooklyn prosecutors have already charged Kelly with multiple sex crimes including racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation. They allege he and his employees and assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and groomed them for sexual abuse.

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Kelly, 52, also has been charged with similar sex crimes in federal court in Chicago, in state court in Chicago and in state court in Minnesota.

As it currently stands, Kelly is tentatively scheduled to face trial in the federal case in Chicago in April and in the federal case in New York in May, with the state case in Chicago scheduled for September.

If these dates hold, he would face trials in three courts in two states in a six-month period of 2020, not counting whatever happens in Minnesota.

Kelly is currently being held at the federal detention facility in Chicago. A hearing in the Brooklyn case is scheduled for Monday but he will not be present.

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