R. Kelly
Photo: Nicholas Ballasy

R. Kelly Sexual Abuse/Racketeering Trial Gets Heated

Subsequent to opening statements and testimony from one of R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse victims, the embattle singer’s federal racketeering trial continued this past week in Brooklyn.

With the prosecution calling a pair of witnesses to the stand, Demetrius Smith, Kelly’s former tour manager, testified about the singer’s relationship with a then-15-year-old songstress Aaliyah. Kelly faces bribery charges over the Aaliyah incident, with attorneys hoping to prove that the singer ran a criminal enterprise along with the allegations of sexual abuse against him.

When questioned, Smith confirmed that in 1994 he bribed an Illinois government employee to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah in order for the then-27-year-old R. Kelly to marry the teen (who he thought was pregnant at the time) in order to avoid statutory rape charges. 

The fake ID (which listed Aaliyah’s age as 18) was used when Kelly and Aaliyah married in a Chicago hotel in August 1994.“I told him that he couldn’t marry Aaliyah. She was too young,” Smith testified, the New York Times reports, “[Kelly] asked me whose side I was on.”

Anthony Navarro, an employee of Kelly’s who worked at the singer’s Chicago studio in the 2000s was also called to the stand, where they likened the experience to The Twilight Zone. “The things that you had to do was just a bit uncomfortable,” he told the court. “The music and production stuff was really good. All the other stuff was kind of strange.”

The prosecution’s first witness, Jerhonda Pace, said in her testimony that, in addition to her allegations of abuse, Kelly had given her a sexually transmitted disease. Lawyers called on Kelly’s longtime physician Kris McGrath (who had treated the singer since 1994) to verify the claim that the singer was knowingly infecting women with STDs.

“I did not conclude that he did not have herpes,” McGrath said, adding that he advised Kelly to “inform your sexual partners so they can make a decision whether or not to have sex with you.”

Keep up with the latest trending music news by following us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Author: Brad LeBeau

Photo: Nicholas Ballasy