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The former tour manager of disgraced singer R. Kelly wept while reflecting on the star’s relationship with Aaliyah.
“Aaliyah, man I remember her. I remember that day,” Demetrius Smith, 65, told the New York Daily News, while recalling the two singers' apparent wedding day. “She gave me a look like I let her down.”
Smith was featured in the 2019 Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which he confessed that he helped arrange Kelly's allegedly illegal 1994 marriage to the budding star. He claimed he even had forged the paperwork to make it look like Aaliyah, then 15, was 18, a move he admitted he was “not proud” of. Smith also said in the documentary that Kelly believed he may have gotten Aaliyah pregnant when she was still 15 and he was 27.
The nuptials were the subject of speculation at the time. Smith expressed anger that prosecutors are only now investigating the two singers’ relationship and marriage.
“When it first came out they had an opportunity to do something about it,” Smith told the New York Daily News on Sunday. “The truth about Aaliyah has to be told — but not at the cost of a man’s life.”
The outlet reported that he was crying as he discussed the topic.
“Everybody had the opportunity to step in,” he said.
Smith testified reluctantly in Brooklyn Federal Court on Friday against the 54-year-old Kelly, the Associated Press reported. He said on the stand that he paid a $500 bribe to a Chicago public assistance worker for a fake ID for Aaliyah so the pair could marry.
Aaliyah is identified as "Jane Doe #1" in Kelly’s trial; prosecutors say the singer has been abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. They allege he led an enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who recruited women and girls for his sexual desires.
Kelly has denied the allegations and his defense has described his accusers as groupies who only started accusing him of abuse following the #MeToo movement.
However, the “Initiation” star has been plagued with accusations for decades about his sexual behavior. He was accused of child pornography in Chicago in 2002, which he was ultimately acquitted of in 2008.
In Brooklyn, he faces more than a dozen criminal counts of sex trafficking, racketeering, coercion, and other charges in connection with the abuse of women and girls. He is also accused of producing child pornography and destroying evidence in a separate case in Illinois.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001 at the age of 22.
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