R. Kelly’s bribery charge is set to be arraigned in Brooklyn next week. However, Kelly will appear in court via video, due to his fear of flying.
According to Page Six, federal Judge Ann Donnelly has approved Kelly’s request to stay put—in a Chicago prison—and teleconference in to the arraignment. The US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn had previously pushed for Kelly to be forced to appear in person for the court date, set for Dec. 18.
The arraignment will address Kelly’s latest charge, that he allegedly bribed a government official to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah, so that they could marry when she was only 15. Kelly’s 1994 marriage to Aaliyah reportedly only lasted a few days, when the late singer’s parents forced her to have it annulled.
Chicago prosecutors argue that the new bribery charge and marriage are further examples of Kelly’s alleged victimization of young girls. The R&B singer is currently facing racketeering charges in Brooklyn, as well as kidnapping, forced labor, possession of child pornography, engaging in prostitution with a minor and the transportation and recruitment of underage girls in Chicago and Minneapolis.
In a TMZ interview published on Monday (Dec. 9), Kelly’s ex-manager, Demetrius Smith, confirmed that he will testify in the bribery charge against Kelly. Smith said that he purchased the fake ID for Aaliyah, which is considered bribery, but he doesn't want this charge to incarcerate Kelly.
“I really don’t want to bring Aaliyah back up in this. She’s not here and that’s over. They let that go,” he told the outlet. “Her parents didn’t want to have nothing done.”
Although Smith will testify, he believes psychiatric help is what Kelly needs, rather than a prison sentence.
“I don’t want to be used as a witness to hurt Mr. Kelly,” he continued. “We don’t want to see him locked up. I think that Robert should get a psyche evaluation... I think that we should help him more-so than hurt him.”
Kelly’s bribery charge arraignment will be held in Brooklyn next Wednesday (Dec. 18).