It has not been a good year for R&B and hip-hop artist, R. Kelly. Still reeling from allegations and charges relating to child pornography, aggravated criminal abuse, as well as, racketeering, and obstruction of justice, Kelly was just hit with another federal charge of bribing a government official to get a fake ID for his soon to be wife, the late Aaliyah. The story is very convoluted, but given the charges that Kelly has experienced thus far, it seemingly fits the narrative for his MO. What’s the story behind this bizarre charge?
Back in 1994, R. Kelly and Aaliyah were married, that much we know. The legality of it is another question. According to recent federal charges filed in Brooklyn, New York, Kelly used bribery with a government official in Illinois to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah. Kelly paid the official because the young, soon-to-be bride was only 15 years old and couldn’t legally marry him at the time, being a minor. The fake ID purported that the late artist was 18, permitting the two to get married.
#BREAKING: singer R. Kelly has been hit with a superseding indictment adding 1 act of racketeering/bribery for allegedly getting a fake id for Jane Doe #1. The act dates back to August 30, 1994 – a day before he married late singer #Aaliyah, who was then 15 years old. #RKelly pic.twitter.com/e8QT05KeET
— Marta Dhanis (@MartaDhanis) December 5, 2019
It’s odd that a federal charge for bribery from 1994 would surface over 25 years later, but it was tied to an overall racketeering investigation on Kelly which had been ongoing. Specifically, the racketeering was paired with violations of the Mann Act, which makes it illegal to take people across state lines for prostitution. While the charges of bribing a government official to obtain a fake ID are serious, they’re nothing close to the seriousness that the Mann Act violations carry. Only Kelly was indicted on these charges, but it’s assumed that his entourage of bodyguards, managers, and other team personnel were also involved in recruiting women and young girls to ‘engage in illegal sexual activity’.
It can’t be definitively stated that the ‘public’ knew about the illegal marriage between Kelly and Aaliyah, but if there’s any indication, the songs released by both musical artists provided all the context needed. Kelly produced Aaliyah’s hit single and a debut album titled ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’, while he also sang the lyrics ‘little cute Aaliyah’s got it’ in her song ‘She’s Got That Vibe’. Even grinding through subsequent interviews, the couple avoided the question of their ages, including one on BET which was featured in the recent documentary, Surviving R. Kelly.
According to Kelly’s defense, he was unaware that Aaliyah was 15 years old and truly believed that she was the legal age for marriage. This notion doesn’t hold water, though, as it is purported that the fake ID was obtained the day before the couple got married. Unfortunately, one of the key players in this ordeal is no longer around to provide information from her side. In 2001, Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash, potentially taking the real truth of whether Kelly knew, to the grave with her. Kelly is currently serving time in prison as he awaits trial for the laundry list of federal charges and indictments.