New information comes to light
R. Kelly’s ex tour manager revealed hesitantly Friday that he paid a $500 bribe to a government employee to obtain singer Aaliyah a false ID card so Kelly could secretly marry her when she was 15 years old. Demetrius Smith strolled into the welfare office and asked a photographer if he wanted to earn extra cash, Smith, who is now 65, told jurors at the Brooklyn courthouse where Kelly is on trial.
Smith was certain that the bribe would succeed because, as he put it, everyone needs some money. Kelly is accused of operating a two-decade-long operation in which he lured women and young girls for sex. The welfare card was one of two falsified identifications used by the R&B icon to marry Aaliyah after he began a full relationship with her and thought her to be pregnant.
Her age was incorrectly recorded as 18 on a marriage license that was presented in court, and Kelly was 27 at the time. Kelly allegedly sought to exploit the marriage to hide himself from criminal charges linked to engaging in sexual activity with an underage person and stop her from testifying against him, according to prosecutors.
Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, collaborated with Kelly on her first album, ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number’, released in 1994. At the age of 22, she died in an aircraft disaster in 2001. Kelly, aged 54, is accused of bribery as part of a trafficking case in which he is accused of sexually assaulting many women, girls, and boys over the duration of his 30-year singing career.
Kelly’s former tour manager confesses
R. Kelly has strongly rejected the allegations, stating that the ladies were groupies seeking to profit from his celebrity and wealth gained via his songs. Smith, who was made to testify against his will after being granted immunity from future charges, told the judge many times that he was uncomfortable taking the stand, but he did not specify why.
However, after being prodded by the court, Smith described how the singer approached him during a 1994 tour and warned him that Aaliyah was in danger, and that they needed to get back home. After a concert in another location, they hurried back to Chicago to organize the marriage, which was supposed to protect him and Aaliyah, Smith claimed. He knew how to get her an ID, and he said that it is what he did.
Jerhonda Pace, 28, testified against Kelly, alleging that when she was 16, Kelly assaulted her and forced her to call him ‘Daddy’ and request his permission to use the restroom. Kelly, whose songs include ‘I Believe I Can Fly’, ‘Bump n’ Grind’, and ‘If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time’, has been in prison for the last two years and was transported from Chicago to Brooklyn for the trial in June.
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