R. Kelly married late pop star Aaliyah when she was just 15 because he believed she was pregnant – as part of the R&B singer’s attempt to avoid jail, said Friday his former tour director in Brooklyn federal court.
Demetrius Smith, who worked with the “Bump n ‘Grind” singer in the’ 90s, said Kelly married his underage girlfriend “to protect herself, to protect Aaliyah” after learning she had got pregnant.
“Aaliyah’s in trouble, we’ve got to go home,” Smith said at a concert in Orlando, Fla. Around 1994. “Aaliyah, man, she thinks she’s pregnant. “
Kelly immediately left the tour, returning home to Chicago where a minister married her with Aaliyah at a hotel, Smith said.
Asked by a prosecutor what Kelly needed protection from, Smith replied, “I guess jail. “
Smith said he was initially uncomfortable with how attractive Kelly was to the “Back & Forth” singer shortly after they met in 1992 when Aaliyah was 13, he said. declared.
“I just thought they were too playful, too friendly… he was seducing her,” said Smith, who met Kelly through Aaliyah’s uncle and Kelly’s manager Barry Hankerson.
On Friday – the third day of the 54-year-old singer’s sex crimes and racketeering trial – Kelly’s lawyers also presented a 1994 marriage certificate showing Aaliyah apparently lied about being 18 when she was 18. she married Kelly, who was 27 at the time. .
Smith also admitted to bribing an official with $ 500 to obtain fake ID for Aaliyah so that the wedding could take place.
The testimony came just days before the 20th anniversary of Aaliyah’s tragic death, and as the singer’s second album “One in a Million” hit streaming platforms this week.
Earlier in the lawsuit, Smith noted that Kelly wrote much of Aaliyah’s first record, which prompted a prosecutor to ask, “What was the name of the album?”
“Age is just a number,” replied Smith.