Ex-manager claims he obtained fake ID in bribe for R Kelly to marry Aaliyah

An ex-tour manager for R Kelly has claimed that he paid a government worker for a fake ID in order to help secure marriage between Kelly and an underage Aaliyah.

Demetrius Smith spoke at the singer’s trial in Brooklyn, New York on Friday (August 19), alleging that Kelly had persuaded him to obtain fake ID so that the then 15-year-old Aaliyah could marry him.

Smith claimed that he paid $500 (£367) for an ID used by Kelly, then aged 27, to wed Aaliyah. Earlier court documents reportedly said that the bribe was paid on August 30, 1994 – one day before the marriage licence was issued [via BBC News].

Kelly is accused of sexual abuse, racketeering and bribery. He denies all charges.

Former tour manager Smith said at the trial that the decision to obtain the document was made by Kelly’s “associates” after Aaliyah said she was pregnant.

R Kelly New York trial sexual abuse begins
R. Kelly arrives at a courtroom in Chicago in 2019. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

He said that when he pointed out that Aaliyah was “too young” he was asked “whose side I was on”. On Friday he told the court that he “went to the welfare office, and I walked in, and I said: ‘Hey, want to make some money?’”

Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah Dana Haughton, died in a plane crash in 2001 aged 22. She was married to Kelly but it was annulled months later. Her age was listed as 18 on their marriage certificate.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is also on trial as the alleged ringleader of a two-decade-long scheme in which he is accused of having recruited women and underage girls for sex. He has been in jail two years.

Last week a woman testified in court against Kelly, alleging that he abused her as a minor.

Jerhonda Pace alleged that Kelly invited her back to his home when she was 16-years-old in 2009.

Pace, who was an avid fan and a member of an R. Kelly fan club on MySpace, alleged Kelly had multiple sexual encounters with her over the course of six months. Pace claimed Kelly invited her to his mansion and told her to take off her clothes, and said he was going to “train her” sexually.

While there, she alleges she was told to follow “Rob’s rules”, given instructions to call Kelly “Daddy” and wear baggy clothes to hide her figure. She also alleges she had to go to Kelly to ask permission to eat, use the bathroom or make phone call.

The trial continues.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.