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The uncle of late pop star Aaliyah, who at age 15 married singer R. Kelly, said following Kelly's conviction of a host of sex abuse-related charges that there wouldn't even have been a trial if he'd been aware of what went on between Kelly and his niece.
Kelly, 54, was found guilty by a federal jury in Brooklyn on Monday for sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping, racketeering and sex trafficking. A good portion of the trial focused on Kelly’s treatment with the late pop singer Aaliyah Haughton.
Prosecutors stated that Aaliyah, identified as "Jane Doe #1" in the case, was 12 when she met Kelly and still a young teen when he began sexually abusing her. Kelly’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith testified in August that he paid a $500 bribe to a Chicago public assistance worker for a fake ID for a 15-year-old Aaliyah so she and Kelly could marry.
“I think you got to pay the price for what you’ve done. He’s had too many second chances,” her uncle Barry Hankerson told the New York Post.
The 74-year-old producer was the one who introduced Aaliyah to Kelly.
He added, “He’s going to get whatever he’s got coming.”
Hankerson insists that he didn’t know of any improper behavior going on. He also suggested he may have taken matters into his own hands if he had.
“If I had known what Robert Kelly was doing, Robert Kelly would not have to worry about a trial,” Hankerson told The Daily News. “I can't say what would have happened, but there wouldn't have been a trial if I had known about any of the things he was trying to do to my niece.”
Hankerson didn't testify during Kelly's trial, but said he did talk to federal investigators about his relationship with both Kelly and his late niece. He said he feels that “justice was served.”
As for what Aaliyah would have thought of the verdict, Hankerson told the New York Post that “I don’t speak for her. She isn’t here to speak.”
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001 at the age of 22. She was just one of many that prosecutors say Kelly sexually abused over the course of decades.
Kelly could face up to life in prison for the charges he’s been convicted of. Sentencing is scheduled for May 4.
He also faces separate sex-related trials in Illinois and Minnesota and has pleaded not guilty in those cases.
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