R. Kelly made an appearance for his federal trial in Brooklyn yesterday (Aug. 18), where he’s facing racketeering, sex trafficking and other charges. Prosecutor and Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez made opening statements against the singer that included allegations about his relationship with Aaliyah, XXL reports.
According to court documents obtained by the outlet on Thursday morning (Aug. 19), Melendez claimed that in 1994, Kelly believed Aaliyah might be pregnant and rushed to illegally marry her to keep her from testifying against him in the future. At the time of their marriage, Kelly was 27 years old and Aaliyah was 15.
“One night in 1994, while the defendant was on tour, he got some news about Aaliyah,” Melendez addressed the court. “She thought that she was pregnant. This, of course, was a huge problem for him. Why? Because at the time Aaliyah was only 15 years old and if she was pregnant, that meant that there would be questions, a lot of questions. At the very top of that list of questions would be: Who is the father of that baby?”
“So, the defendant and his circle came up with a plan, a plan that the defendant thought would keep Aaliyah from talking and a plan that would keep him out of jail if anyone found out,” she continued. “… The defendant decided that he needed to marry Aaliyah. That way, as far as he understood, if anyone found out about the pregnancy, about his sexual activity with her, Aaliyah could not talk. In other words, if she’s his wife, then she can’t testify against him, or so he thought.”
Prosecutors believe that Kelly, who was on tour at the time, flew to Chicago to marry Aaliyah so she couldn’t be compelled to testify against him if he was ever criminally charged in regard to her pregnancy. The pair allegedly met up at an airport hotel to plan their nuptials. Since Aaliyah was underage, Kelly is also accused of bribing a Chicago public official with $500 to acquire a fake ID for her, which claimed she was 18 years old.
Aaliyah married Kelly on Aug. 31, 1994; but her parents annulled the union the following February. If convicted, Kelly, who is also battling charges in Chicago and Minnesota, faces between 10 years to life in prison.