Federal prosecutors are revealing more about their investigation into R. Kelly, revealing now that witnesses told them that the disgraced R&B singer wed a teenage Aaliyah to keep her from testifying against him and avoid criminal charges, according to new court documents.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that federal prosecutors revealed this new information to show that R. Kelly has a pattern of obstructing justice, and to make a case to deny his lawyer’s wishes to reveal the identities of two alleged victims in his Brooklyn case.
Steve Greenberg, R. Kelly’s lawyer, previously argued that “the defense cannot conduct any investigation or adequately prepare for trial without knowing who each of the supposed ‘victims’ are.”
In response, prosecutors wrote in court documents, “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.”
Back in December, federal prosecutors added a charge to his case in Brooklyn, accusing the singer of bribing an Illinois government employee in order to obtain fake identification to marry the late singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old, The New York Times reported.
A source told the publication that Kelly, who was 27 years old at the time, used a fake ID to obtain a marriage license that listed Aaliyah’s age as 18. The marriage, held in 1994, was later annulled.
Aaliyah, who passed away at the age of 22 in 2001, is only listed in the new indictment as “Jane Doe #1.”
R. Kelly has long denied reports that he and Aaliyah wed, saying instead that the two were close friends. In 2016, the R&B singer told GQ magazine that he “will never have that conversation with anyone.”
“Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mother and father who has asked me not to personally,” he continued. “But I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close. We were, you know, best best best best friends.”
Earlier this year, during an interview with Good Morning America, Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg, claimed that the singer had no idea Aaliyah was 15 at the time.
“My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” Greenberg said.
R. Kelly, now 53, has been locked up since last July in Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal prison in Chicago. He’s now facing federal charges in his native Chicago (child pornography and obstruction of justice) and Brooklyn (racketeering), along with local charges in two different states over various allegations that he sexually abused minors.
He and his lawyers has continually denied the charges.