R. Kelly’s attorney has entered a not guilty plea for his charge of bribery. The “Step In The Name of Love” singer allegedly bribed a government official to obtain a fake identification card for an underage woman. That woman was later identified as Aaliyah, whom he married when she was only 15 years old.
Vibe reported that an Illinois marriage license for Kelly and Aaliyah had shown that she was 18 years old. The license was dated Aug. 31, 1994, one day after Kelly had allegedly paid the bribe.
The new allegation adds on to an existing racketeering indictment that was filed against Kelly in New York, which accuses him of sexually exploiting and recruiting underage girls. In Kelly’s Brooklyn investigation, prosecutors obtained both Kelly and Aaliyah’s marriage and annulment records, as well as Aaliyah’s birth certificate, which were all filed on Thursday (Dec. 5).
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” earlier this year, Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, claimed that Kelly had “no idea” Aaliyah was 15 years old when they got married. “My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” Greenberg said. Following this new indictment, Greenberg said the alleged bribe “does not appear to materially alter the landscape.” The indictment also claims that Kelly’s team coordinated women’s living arrangements with Kelly and that the women were forced to adhere to strict rules while living with him. It also states that the women were isolated from their friends and families, making them financially dependent on the R&B singer.
The Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired last January, brought more attention to his alleged offenses and he was arrested six weeks after the series’ premiere. “Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning” airs next month.