R. Kelly’s lawyer says Aaliyah can’t testify about being a victim in his sex crimes case because she’s dead.
According to Senior Legal Reporter Jacob Shamsian, during R. Kelly’s trial this morning, his lawyer Nicole Blank Becker “went on a strange riff this morning about how Aaliyah could not testify as a victim in the case because she was dead.”
Despite the loud whispers throughout the years that the R&B singer had an inappropriate relationship with the then teen star, the accusation was dismissed by both parties, as well as the general public. Kelly served as executive producer on Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number. After the rumors, Aaliyah distanced herself from Kelly and went on to collaborate with super producers Missy Elliot and Timbaland.
In 1997, Inside Edition went shopping in New York City with the star. She spoke candidly about her career, influences and relationships, including a rumored marriage to R. Kelly. “Three years ago, there was this terrible rumor out. What is the deal with you and R. Kelly? Are you all married or not?” asked the reporter. In response, Aaliyah replied, “No, I’m not married. Robert’s doing his thing. I’m doing my thing. He’s a great producer and a great artist who I do admire, and there’s nothing, nothing there, at all.”
It wasn’t until disturbing details about their relationship were revealed during the dream hampton produced docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly. Hip-hop mogul and Aaliyah’s ex-boyfriend, Damon Dash, spoke out in part II of the series saying, “Aaliyah was like the sacrificial lamb for all that, bro, because she didn’t deserve none of that. Good soul, good girl, and wasn’t even really so resentful, like, ‘Let that man live, but keep him the f**k away from me.’ That’s all she wanted, she was just happy to be away.”
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News broke of their secret marriage in 1994, with outlets sharing a marriage certificate that showed Aaliyah’s age as 18 when she would have been 15 years old. Kelly was 27 at the time. Part of the charges against R. Kelly involves allegations that he bribed a government official to give Aaliyah a fake ID. It is believed Kelly married teen Aaliyah after discovering she was pregnant. In court, the prosecutor argued that Kelly believed Aaliyah couldn’t make any criminal allegations of sexual misconduct against him if they were married.
As reported by Insider, in her opening statements Wednesday, Kelly’s attorney said that while the jury may hear testimony from Aaliyah’s friends and family, Aaliyah could not possibly testify herself about being a victim in the case because she was dead. Becker added that there isn’t any evidence the singer, identified as Jane Doe #1 in charging documents, was even pregnant in the first place. Before urging the jury to be skeptical about the fake ID story, Becker made sure to say, “Aaliyah, God rest her soul, passed away.”
It is quite unfortunate that after tragically losing her life at such a young age, the platinum singer’s successful career has been tarnished by her association with R. Kelly, an accused predator.[via]