Singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty Wednesday in his new federal case. He allegedly bribed an Illinois state official to get a fake ID for then-15-year-old singer Aaliyah Haughton in 1994. That way, he could marry the R&B wunderkind, authorities said, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Equal parts dubious and infamous, the union reportedly ended after her family filed to have it annulled. The enigmatic story behind this relationship colored the story of both their careers for years, but this is the first time that Kelly faced charges over it. Haughton passed away in a plane crash in 2001, after a brief but memorable career in music and film. She was 22.
Kelly, now 52, faces a slew of federal charges in connection to allegedly abusing girls and women. This new Aaliyah-related charge is just one of them. The defendant faces cases in New York and Illinois federal courts for counts including the sexual exploitation of children, and racketeering.
A judge in the Eastern District of New York denied Kelly bond in October over the allegation that he or his representatives tried to strong-arm a victim into not suing him.
“The defendant appears to concede that he was asked to sign, and did sign, a series of documents and that those documents may have included the letter to Jane Doe #5’s then-lawyer, but then denies any knowledge of the contents of that letter,” prosecutors wrote in a filing obtained by Law&Crime.
In a CBS interview, Kelly vehemently denied doing anything illegal when it came to women. He was famously acquitted in 2008 for allegedly abusing an underage girl.
[Image via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images]