R. Kelly has been accused of bribing an Illinois government employee in 1994 to obtain a fake ID so that he could legally marry 15-year-old singer Aaliyah Dana Haughton, according to a federal indictment.
After obtaining the fake ID on August 30, 1994, Kelly and Haughton applied for a marriage license which listed her age as 18, according to the New York Times, citing a personal familiar with the matter. The marriage was eventually annulled, and Haughton died in a 2001 plane crash at the age of 22. She is identified in the indictment as "Jane Doe #1."
Kelly, 52, has maintained that he had "no idea" Aaliyah was 15 when they married.
"My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age," said Kelly's lawyer, Steven Greenberg, during a 2018 interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."
Not true, according to prosecutors - who say Kelly had a direct role in that lie.
More than two decades ago, Vibe magazine reported that an Illinois marriage license for Mr. Kelly and Aaliyah listed her age as 18. Mr. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was 27 at the time. The license was dated Aug. 31, 1994, the day after Mr. Kelly allegedly paid the bribe.
Aaliyah was 14 when she made her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” which was released in 1994 and produced by Mr. Kelly.
Mr. Kelly, an R&B singer whose hit singles include “Ignition (Remix)” and “I Believe I Can Fly,” has faced longstanding sexual abuse accusations. Law enforcement scrutiny of Mr. Kelly intensified after several women spoke out publicly in a six-part Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which was released in January. -New York Times
Kelly was arrested after "Surviving R. Kelly" aired in January, 2019 - after he was accused of mental, physical and sexual abuse by dozens of accusers.
How can Kelly be indicted now?
While criminal activity from 25 years ago would normally fall outside the statute of limitations, preventing prosecution - Kelly faces a broad racketeering charge in Brooklyn, where he is accused of operating a criminal scheme to recruit fans, many underage, to have sex with him.
Because of this, the statute of limitations does not apply, allowing federal prosecutors to introduce claims from any time relevant time.
His associates arranged for the travel and lodging of his sexual partners. But once they arrived, prosecutors said, the women had to follow strict rules. They were not allowed to leave their room without Mr. Kelly’s permission and had to call him “daddy.” They were isolated from their friends and families, making them financially dependent on Mr. Kelly, the indictment said.
The Brooklyn indictment, which was originally filed in June, also accuses Mr. Kelly of kidnapping, forced labor, failing to disclose a sexually transmitted disease to sexual partners and producing child pornography. -New York Times
Kelly has pleaded not guilty, and is currently in federal custody in Chicago. As the Times notes, he was first arrested on charges of possessing child pornography in 2002, stemming from a sex tape which featured him urinating on an underage girl. He was acquitted in 2008 on all counts.
Moreover, a Brooklyn federal prosecutor said recently that Kelly had paid off witnesses in the Chicago case who were willing to flip on him. According to his lawyer, they simply decided not to testify.