R. Kelly’s former tour manager said on Friday that he bribed an official at a public aid office to obtain a false ID, saying that the late singer Aaliyah was of legal age so she could marry the R&B star now for a sex crime trial. .
Demetrius Smith – who worked for Kelly for more than a decade in the 1980s and 1990s – testified during the ensuing immunity from prosecution, saying he paid a worker $ 500 to insure then-15-year-old Aaliyah Haughton an ID forgery. which was used shortly thereafter to marry Kelly, who was then 27 years old.
“I went to the welfare office and I went in and said, ‘Hey, do you want to make some money?’ “” Smith, now 65, said during the dramatic afternoon in Brooklyn courthouse where Kelly is facing crimes including extortion, bribery and sexual exploitation of a child.
Smith told the jury that Kelly and her co-workers hatched the marriage plan because Aaliyah said she was pregnant – and Kelly feared “jail”.
He believed that the marriage could prevent her from testifying against him if criminal charges were brought for her relationship with the teenager.
It was “to protect oneself; to protect Aaliyah,” Smith said.
He testified that he and Kelly left their tour and flew back to Chicago for their 1994 wedding, which was later annulled.
Smith said he asked the star not to marry Aaliyah, then Kelly’s protégé, with whom he established a “playful” and “flirtatious” relationship, according to the witness.
I said “he could not marry her and she was too young,” Smith said, adding that the singer’s staff encouraged the union as a solution.
“He asked me which side I was on.”
Smith said he feared “I was preparing to be displaced from the circle” in Kelly’s career, so “I wanted this to happen”.
The witness, repeatedly upset during the interrogation, which will continue on Monday, told the court he would like to leave and said “I feel I am facing trial.”
“I’m really uncomfortable,” he said. “We’re constantly talking about Aaliyah. Her parents are not here.”
Aaliyah – whose debut album “Age Ain’t Nothin ‘But A Number” Kelly produced – died in a plane crash in 2001, when she was 22 years old.
The first week of the long-awaited trial, which included testimonies from one of her prosecutors, provided an insight into the extensive network of physical, sexual and emotional abuse that Kelly, now 54, has been accused of directing for more than two decades.
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