R. Kelly Trial Opens With New Details About Illegal Marriage To Aaliyah

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Federal prosecutors opened their case against R. Kelly in court on Wednesday (August 18) with new details about the disgraced singer’s illegal marriage to Aaliyah.  

Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez gave her opening statements, addressing the alleged 1994 marriage between a then 27-year-old Kelly and 15-year-old Aaliyah, The New York Times reported. 

Cruz Melendez said prosecutors believe Kelly orchestrated the illegal union after learning Aaliyah was pregnant with his child. Kelly, the attorney said, bribed a Chicago official to give the underaged singer a fake ID so the two could wed and she could avoid ever having to testify against him in court. 

“This was, of course, a huge problem for him,” Cruz Melendez said about Aaliyah’s alleged 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?” The marriage was

Aaliyah is among six women centered in the racketeering and sexual misconduct case against Kelly. In court documents, the late R&B star is referred only to as “Jane Doe No. 1.” 

“This case is about a predator,” Cruz Melendez said in court. Kelly, she added, 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.” 

The 54-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all the criminal charges against him and denied the illegal marriage. He faces 10 years to life in prison, if convicted.

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