R Kelly charged with paying bribe before marriage to Aaliyah

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NEW YORK (AP) – Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.

The revised indictment filed Thursday in New York, accuses Kelly of paying a bribe in exchange for a “fraudulent identification document” for someone identified only as “Jane Doe” on Aug. 30, 1994.

A day later, Kelly, then 27, married Aaliyah in a secret ceremony arranged by Kelly at a hotel in Chicago. The marriage was annulled months later because of her age. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.

The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment about who the fake ID was meant for, and the indictment didn’t mention the wedding, but a person familiar with the investigation confirmed the “Jane Doe” was Aaliyah. The person wasn’t authorized to discuss details of the new charge and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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

The Brooklyn prosecutors had already charged R. Kelly with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation. They alleged he and his employees and assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and groomed them for sexual abuse.

The 52-year-old singer, who is being held without bond, is scheduled to stand trial in federal court in Chicago in April on child pornography and obstruction of justice charges before facing trial in Brooklyn. Kelly, whose given name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was acquitted in 2008 on charges of videotaping himself having sex with a girl who prosecutors allege was as young as 13.

R. Kelly’s attorneys have long maintained that he was unaware of Aaliyah’s age when they married. The Illinois marriage license used for the wedding said she was 18.

The indictment didn’t identify the person who was paid the bribe in order to get the fake ID, except to say that the person was a public employee.

Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, worked with R. Kelly on her debut album ”Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.”

FILE – In this June 26, 2019, file photo, musician R. Kelly departs from the Leighton Criminal Court building after a status hearing in his criminal sexual abuse trial in Chicago. On Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood ordered Kelly to stand trial on one of four sexual abuse cases on Sept. 14, but it remains unclear which of the cases prosecutors will take to trial first. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)
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