R Kelly pleads not guilty to bribery amid marriage to 15-year-old Aaliyah
R Kelly pleaded not guilty to charges he asked someone to bribe a government official to procure a fake ID the day before he married Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time.
The star appeared via video feed in court on Wednesday where he denied the charge of scheming with others to pay for the document, ahead of the secret 1994 ceremony.
Earlier this month a new indictment accused the singer, 52, of bribing a government official in Illinois back in 1994 to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah (named as Jane Doe in documents, but believed to be Aaliyah) to show she was 18 years old. It’s alleged the ID was used in order to secure a marriage license when Aaliyah was 15.
Kelly, then 27, and Aaliyah married in August 1994, a day after the alleged bribe took place, reports The New York Times. The same claim was made in a documentary, Surviving R Kelly, that aired in January, by one of Kelly’s former tour managers.
This week Kelly entered the plea in New York via a video feed from Chicago, where he’s facing multiple sex crime and other criminal charges.
His marriage to Aaliyah was annulled after only a few months because of her age.
Kelly had produced Aaliyah’s first album when she was 14 years old. Sadly, Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at age 22.
Responding to the latest claims, Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, said in an interview with Good Morning America: ‘My understanding is that [Aaliyah] did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age.’
The I Believe I Can Fly hitmaker’s lawyers have long maintained that Kelly was unaware of Aaliyah’s age when they married, while the Illinois marriage license used for the wedding said she was 18.
The new charges against Kelly add to an already existing indictment filed against the star – accusing him of ‘sexually exploiting underage girls and coercing them into illegal sexual activity’.
He is currently in prison, without bail, after he was indicted on 18 charges back in July, including sexual exploitation, child pornography production, kidnapping, forced labour, racketeering, and obstruction of justice.
Kelly has denied all charges against him.
Metro.co.uk previously contacted Kelly’s reps for comment.
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