R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to a Brooklyn indictment in which he is accused of paying a public official to provide a fake ID for Aaliyah. The bribery charges stem from Kelly's illegal marriage to the late singer in 1994, when she was still underage.
Prosecutors claim Kelly purchased the fraudulent card one day before his and Aaliyah's alleged secret wedding ceremony took place. It is believed that Kelly used the ID, which listed Aaliyah's age as 18, to obtain a marriage license. Aaliyah was 15 and Kelly was 27 at the time.
Per the legal documents:
On or about August 30, 1994, within the Northern District of Illinois, the defendant ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY, together with others, did knowingly and intentionally cause another individual to promise and tender to a public officer and public employee property, to wit: Unites States currency, that such public officer and public employee was not authorized by law to accept, with the intent to influence the performance of an act related to the employment and function of a public officer and public employee, to wit: the creation of a fraudulent identification document for Jane Doe #1, an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, in violation of Illinois Criminal Code Sections 5/33-l(a) and 5/5-1.
According to TMZ, Kelly denied the bribery allegations during a hearing in the Eastern District of New York. He appeared in court via video stream, as he remains in a Chicago jail awaiting trial for other cases.
Kelly and Aaliyah's wedding was allegedly held in Illinois, where it is illegal for anyone under 18 to get married without parental consent. The marriage was annulled after less than a year at the request of Aaliyah's parents.
Kelly's former assistant Demetrius Smith said he was present when the wedding ceremony occurred, and claimed he was the one who obtained the fake ID at Kelly's request.
"I was in the room when they got married," Smith said in the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. "I’m not proud of that. I had papers forged for them when Aaliyah was underaged. It was just a quick little ceremony. She didn’t have on a white dress. He didn’t have on a tux. Just every day wear. She looked worried and scared."
Kelly is facing charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor, and sexual exploitation in Brooklyn. He is expected to stand trial in Chicago in April 2020, when he faces additional charges of child pornography and obstruction of justice.