During R. Kelly’s racketeering and sex trafficking trial in Brooklyn, his former tour manager dropped a bombshell regarding Aaliyah. Billboard reports that Demetrius Smith, who served as Kelly’s tour manager for twelve years, from 1984 until 1996, testified Friday that Kelly married Aaliyah while she was underage because she was pregnant. Smith reportedly testified that Kelly “told me that Aaliyah was ‘in trouble,” and added “‘Don’t call Barry [Kelly’s manager and Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson], it’s deeper than you think.’”
Smith’s testimony further incriminates Kelly and his business manager and accountant Daryl McDavid, who allegedly helped make plans for Kelly and Aaliyah to be married, so she couldn’t testify about the pregnancy if it came to that. “R. Kelly said, ‘Aaliyah, man. She thinks she’s pregnant,’” Smith stated in his testimony “It was a shock.” The pair were married in Cook County, Illinois in 1996 — Aaliyah had turned 15 six days before, though the marriage certificate was falsified to state she was 18 at the time. Their marriage was later annulled.
Kelly is charged with racketeering and 14 other underlying acts, which includes kidnapping, sex trafficking and forced labor, as well as eight counts of violating the federal Mann Act, an act that outlaws sex trafficking across state lines. He will face ten years to life in prison if convicted on all counts. After her tragic death, fans have been disappointed that her iconic album One In A Million wasn’t on streaming services, but it officially hit streaming today.