Surprising to Exactly No One, R. Kelly Married Aaliyah So She Couldn’t Testify Against Him, According to Witnesses

Illustration for article titled Surprising to Exactly No One, R. Kelly Married Aaliyah So She Couldn’t Testify Against Him, According to Witnesses
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

There’s been a new development in the case of the publicly prosecuted Pied Piper predator R. Kelly (Sorry, I love alliteration almost as much as I love dragging Kellz so I just really couldn’t help myself.)

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At this point, I’d like to think that I don’t need to make a case for why, if any famous person was ever cancel-worthy, it’s R Kelly. If the Surviving R Kelly docuseries or The Root’s own various reports on the disgraced singer/songwriter aren’t enough for us all to finally give Robert Kelly the ax, maybe his relationship with late R&B angel Aaliyah—who we were just all celebrating on what would’ve been her 41st birthday—will finally convince us.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that witnesses told federal prosecutors R. Kelly married his protégé Aaliyah in 1994 to keep her from testifying against him, according to a new court filing.

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First off, let’s all take a second to acknowledge the fact that in ’94, a 27-year-old man made headlines for marrying a 15-year old girl and continued to enjoy another 20-plus years of a fruitful career in music; then we can move on to how not so shocking this recent news is.

The feds also say that last year, Kelly managed to smuggle a letter into the federal jail where he’s been locked up and, somehow, was able to use an “unmonitored line” to make an unrecorded phone call. How (Sway) he was able to sneak a letter in under prison staff’s noses hasn’t been confirmed, but his lawyers say a staff member gave Kelly permission to use a telephone to contact a third party—a call that “was not recorded and obviously circumvented the protocols in place to ensure monitoring of the defendant’s communications.”

It’s for these reasons that prosecutors are arguing that neither Kelly nor his lawyers should be allowed to learn the identities of two of the alleged victims in the case he faces in Brooklyn, N.Y., saying that it’s all part of a “consistent pattern” by Kelly of obstructing law enforcement.

“Simply put, the defendant’s past behavior reveals that if given the opportunity to influence a potential witness, the defendant will take it, and his incarceration may not be enough to prevent such conduct,” prosecutors wrote.

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Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, has argued in response that “the defense cannot conduct any investigation or adequately prepare for trial without knowing who each of the supposed ‘victims’ are.” In addition, his lawyers have argued that Kelly “simply has no means or method by which to engage in any obstructive conduct.” (I mean, he’s sneaking in letters and making phone calls nobody monitoring him can hear... But sure, guys, he ain’t got the means to do the things he’s allegedly already done.)

Prosecutors described the information they received from witnesses about R. Kelly and his marriage to Aaliyah in a letter filed Tuesday in response to the ongoing dispute over whether Kelly and his lawyers should be allowed to learn the identities of two of the victims in the Brooklyn case. They refer to Aaliyah as “Jane Doe #1” but it’s clear who we’re talking about here.

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“Witnesses have advised the government that the defendant engaged in this bribery scheme to obtain a marriage license so he could quickly and secretly marry Jane Doe #1 to avoid criminal charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with Jane Doe #1, who was a minor at the time,” prosecutors wrote. “Specifically, the defendant believed that his marriage to Jane Doe #1 would prevent her from being able to testify against him in the event he were prosecuted for his criminal sexual relationship with her.”

They also wrote, in reference to him communicating illegally while in lockup, “These incidents demonstrate that the defendant has sought out, and likely will continue to seek out, clandestine means of communication,” prosecutors wrote. “It also demonstrates that the defendant has, at his disposal, individuals willing to assist him in bypassing the traditional methods used to monitor the defendant’s communications while incarcerated.”

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Here’s Kelly’s current legal standing as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:

Kelly has been locked up in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center ever since his arrest in July. He faces federal indictments in Chicago and Brooklyn, as well as local charges in Cook County and in Minnesota. The federal case in Chicago alleges child pornography and obstruction of justice charges, while the feds in Brooklyn have alleged racketeering.

A revised version of the Brooklyn indictment filed in December also accused Kelly of scheming with others to obtain fake identification for Aaliyah through bribery around the time of their marriage in 1994. Aaliyah was 15 at the time.

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So yes, good people, it is—and has been for the better part of three decades now—time to finally throw R. Kelly away.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

etzell1
Bae Bae Watt

I’m always baffled by the people who, in one breath, say there’s no way R. Kelly’s a rapist, and in the next, acknowledge he married a 15 year-old. It’s amazing how far people will go to delude themselves.