Beleaguered R&B singer R. Kelly already faces a long list of charges, but according to The New York Times, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have added a new one — and it’s based on one of his oldest, best-known offenses. In 1994, R. Kelly notoriously married his then-15-year-old protege Aaliyah (Kelly was 27 at the time), prompting her parents to work to get the married annulled six months later and Aaliyah separated from him.
Now, it turns out that his efforts to make the marriage happen have tacked a bribery charge onto his extensive list, which already includes racketeering and violations of the Mann Act in his New York case. He also stands accused of various sexual abuse charges in his native Chicago. According to the report, Kelly bribed an Illinois government employee to get a fake ID listing Aaliyah’s age as 18 years old. While Kelly has argued that Aaliyah lied about her age, video interviews he did around the time he signed and began working with her show that he was very aware of how old she was.
Kelly was recently the subject of a documentary series entitled Surviving R. Kelly, sparking a wave of backlash and a renewed fervor to see him face justice for his alleged crimes. He was eventually arrested in July of last year and has since remained incarcerated, pleading “not guilty” to all the charges against him.