R. Kelly Charged With Taking Bribes For a Fake ID to Marry Aaliyah When She Was 15

(L-R): R. Kelly (C) arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building for a hearing on June 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. ; Aaliyah attends the world premiere of the film “Planet of the Apes” July 23, 2001 in New York City.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images), George De Sota (Getty Images)

Robert “R.” Kelly’s illegal chickens are absolutely coming home to roost.

According to the New York Times, the 52-year-old singer has been charged for bribing an Illinois government employee in 1994 so that he could obtain a fake I.D. in order to marry Aaliyah Haughton (identified in the indictment as Jane Doe #1), who was 15 years old at the time. Brooklyn federal prosecutors allege Kelly used the fake I.D. so that Haughton’s listed age was 18 and the two could obtain a marriage license. The marriage was later annulled. Haughton tragically died in a plane crash in 2001.

NYT adds:

More than two decades ago, Vibe magazine reported that an Illinois marriage license for Mr. Kelly and Aaliyah listed her age as 18. Mr. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was 27 at the time. The license was dated Aug. 31, 1994, the day after Mr. Kelly allegedly paid the bribe.

In the Brooklyn investigation, prosecutors have obtained marriage and annulment records for Mr. Kelly and Aaliyah, as well as Aaliyah’s birth certificate, according to a court document filed late Thursday.

Among the evidence prosecutors have collected are records from the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois secretary of state, the filing said. The new indictment did not specify which agency employed the individual who allegedly took a payoff from Mr. Kelly.

Highly disturbing details of the time Haughton spent with Kelly while he was on tour were chronicled in the 2019 Lifetime documentary, Surviving R. Kelly.


This new indictment is an expansion on the existing racketeering charges Kelly is facing in New York, alleging he sexually exploited and coerced underaged girls.

Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg maintains his client had “no idea” of Aaliyah’s age when the two got married. “My understanding is that she did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age,” Greenberg claimed in a previous interview with Good Morning America. Greenberg has responded to the indictment noting that it “does not appear to materially alter the landscape.”

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.