Content Warning: This article about R. Kelly discusses sexual abuse. If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
The minister who officiated R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s illegal wedding has testified at Kelly’s federal racketeering and sex-trafficking trial.
Nathan Edmond, a 73-year-old minister from Chicago, married the pair in August 1994 when Aaliyah was just 15 years old.
Now, he has spoken publicly about the wedding for the first time after being subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.
Speaking via video link from Chicago, Edmond said: “I didn’t think it was anybody special. I didn’t understand it at all,” he said of the service, which took place in an Illinois hotel.
“The door opened to the bedroom and out stepped Aaliyah and Mr. Kelly. They both had one leg on the jogging suit up to the knee. You couldn’t see her whole face because her hair was over half of her face.”
As reported by Rolling Stone, Edmond went on to testify that Kelly, Aaliyah, their friend Keith Williams and “about three other gentlemen” attended the service.
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Edmond continued on to reveal that he refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement at the time, saying: “I looked at it, I read it, then I kind of chuckled… and said it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.”
Earlier in the trial, Kelly’s ex-tour manager Demetrius Smith claimed that he paid a government worker for a fake ID in order for Kelly and the underage Aaliyah to wed.
According to BBC News, Smith said that he paid USD $500 for the ID one day before the marriage licence was issued.
He also went on to allege that the decision to obtain the ID was made by Kelly’s “associates” after Aaliyah said she was pregnant. Her age was ultimately listed as 18 instead of 15 on their marriage certificate.
Kelly and Aaliyah’s marriage was annulled just months after they tied the knot. In 2001, she passed away in a plane crash at the age of 22.
The Kelly trial continues. If convicted on all counts, he will face 10 years to life in prison.
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