R. Kelly is facing yet another criminal charge, this one reportedly related to his highly controversial marriage to the late singer Aaliyah when she was a teen.
Prosecutors filed a revised indictment in New York on Thursday alleging that Kelly paid a bribe to an unnamed public employee in order to obtain “fraudulent identification document” for a woman listed as “Jane Doe #1,” the Associated Press reports. Court documents do not list Aaliyah, born Aaliyah Dana Haughton, by name but a source familiar with the case confirmed to the Associated Press that Jane Doe refers to Aaliyah. Additionally, the indictment claims that Kelly obtained the false identification on Aug. 30, 1994, one day before he married Aaliyah, who was 15 years old at the time, at a hotel in Chicago.
The 52-year-old singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, was 27 at the time of his marriage to Aaliyah; the marriage was later annulled in a matter of months due to her age, and Aaliyah died at the age of 22 in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
A lawyer for Kelly, Douglas C. Anton, called the latest charge against his client “an absolute absurdity, backed by more innuendo and baseless accusations,” according to NBC News.
“To think that the Federal Government has nothing better to do then go back 25 years and address a 'fake ID' charge makes their whole case weaker,” Anton said in a statement obtained by the news organization.
Kelly, who is currently in federal custody in Illinois, is facing a myriad of sex-related charges in several states, including Illinois, New York, and Minnesota.
This week’s bribery charge is in addition to an indictment federal prosecutors filed in Brooklyn in July, The New York Times reports. That indictment accuses Kelly of racketeering and of recruiting underage girls and women to “engage in illegal sexual activity.”
Kelly, who has steadfastly denied the claims against him, was arrested in Chicago in July, where he faces charges related to child pornography. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in Illinois in July, and entered another not guilty plea to the New York charges in August, NBC News reports, citing court records.
Kelly’s Chicago trial is scheduled to take place in April, and he will be tried in New York after that.
Kelly’s relationship with Aaliyah came under renewed scrutiny following the release of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” a six-part documentary that detailed decades of sexual misconduct claims against the singer.
Kelly worked with Aaliyah at the start of her career, writing and producing her 1994 debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.”
His lawyer Steven Greenberg spoke on the relationship between Kelly and Aaliyah during an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” earlier this year, where he claimed that Kelly had “no idea” that Aaliyah was 15 when they got married.
“My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” he said.
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