On Wednesday, Nathan Edmond, the man who officiated the secret wedding between R. Kelly and Aaliyah back in 1994, took the stand on Wednesday, marking the first time he’s ever spoken publicly about the highly controversial marriage.
Speaking under subpoena via video conference call shown in Brooklyn federal court, Edmond recounted the events leading up to the wedding where he revealed he had never met Kelly or Aaliyah before that day but had been asked to perform the ceremony as a favor to a mutual friend of his and Kelly’s. That friend was Keith Williams, who had previously befriended Edmond due to their background in real estate.
“I didn’t think it was anybody special—I didn’t understand it at all,” Edmond said as reported by Buzzfeed News.
The ceremony only lasted “about 10 minutes or less” and was performed at a hotel in Rosemont, Ill., where only Kelly, Aaliyah, Williams and “three other gentlemen that Edmond did not know” were present. Per Edmond’s testimony, he revealed that the then 27-year-old singer and 15-year-old Aaliyah wore matching jogging suits with “one leg on the jogging suit up to the knee” and that he couldn’t see Aaliyah’s whole face because her hair covered up half of it.
Before Edmond began the wedding, he revealed he was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement but refused to do so because the document didn’t look “legally sound.”
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“I looked at it, I read it, then I kind of chuckled and said it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on,” he explained. As a result, he instead gave Kelly his word and vowed not to ever speak of the day and declined monetary compensation for his time.
As previously reported by The Root, Kelly’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith previously testified on August 23 that the entertainer illegally married Aaliyah because the 15-year-old was pregnant. Smith also admitted to bribing someone he knew at the welfare office with $500 in order to obtain a fake ID for the “One In a Million” singer so she and Kelly could get married.
In addition to Edmond’s testimony on Wednesday, “Faith,” who had previously taken the stand the day before, continued taking questions where she revealed further details about her sexual relationship with Kelly and provided documents and videos to help corroborate her allegations. When some of the videos were played in court, Kelly, who as Vulture notes had been mostly stoic in expression during every disturbing revelation since the trial began, bobbed his head” to his music and at one point even mimicked playing a piano in the air with his fingers.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, help is available at the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or National Sexual Violence Resource Center.