Among the many numbers that R. Kelly is finding do matter: the growing number of charges pending against him.
One more significant one has been added: a charge that the singer bribed a public employee to obtain a fake ID for his then-15-year-old bride, Aaliyah, in 1994. Her marriage to Kelly, who was 27 at the time, was annulled a few months later.
The new charge has been added to a portfolio of existing ones in a federal indictment in Brooklyn, which already has R. Kelly, now 52, facing possible convictions for racketeering and sex trafficking. He’ll face all those charges in May — after he first goes up on trial on separate federal charges in April in Chicago, where he’s being held without bail.
This marks the first time that the illegal R. Kelly/Aaliyah wedding of 25 years ago has resulted in a federal charge. Aaliyah is not mentioned by name in the new documents filed by prosecutors, but the Associated Press and others have confirmed that the late performer is the “Jane Doe” referred to as having been given a “fraudulent identification document” for the Illinois wedding.
The wedding took place the same year that Kelly served as her producer, co-writer and overall mentor on Aaliyah’s debut album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.”
Kelly’s Brooklyn lawyer released a statement, saying in part, “The 1994 Allegation that my client procured a fake ID is an absolute absurdity, backed by more innuendo and baseless accusations,” said Douglas Anton. “This additional charge smacks of the same ‘she said she said’ (yes SHE twice) that makes up the totality of the baseless claims in the New York Federal Indictment. … Oh, and my client had absolutely no involvement with this, if it ever even happened at all.”
The singer’s Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, released a less combative statement, reserving comment until he’d read the full indictment but saying that “at first look it does not appear to materially alter the landscape. We continue to look forward to the day he is free.”
After Kelly’s federal trials in Chicago in April and Brooklyn in May, he’ll then return to Chicago in September to face a third trial, on Illinois state charges of sexual assault and abuse.