R. Kelly ‘admits’ to ‘sexual contact’ with Aaliyah ahead of his sex abuse trial

04 August 2021 - 08:34 By Angela Moore
R. Kelly's trial is due to start next week. File photo.
R. Kelly's trial is due to start next week. File photo.
Image: Reuters/Andrea De Silva

Singer R. Kelly appeared in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday for a hearing, days before his sex abuse trial is due to begin.

The singer is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery. His trial is scheduled to begin on Monday in a federal court in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors allege 54-year-old Kelly, known for hits including I Believe I Can Fly, ran a criminal scheme in which women and underage girls were recruited to have sexual activity with him.

They have alleged he bribed an Illinois official in 1994 to obtain false identification for singer Aaliyah, who was then 15, so they could get married.

According to the New York Daily News, Kelly’s lawyer apparently conceded the singer had “sexual contact” with the R&B star during their illegal marriage.

Thomas Farinella allegedly made this admission under questioning by a US judge but backtracked when pressed by the prosecution.

Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas in 2001.

Kelly faces separate criminal charges in Illinois and Minnesota.

The Grammy Award-winning singer has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges in cases filed in New York, Illinois and Minnesota, and has been held without bail for nearly two years.

The allegations against Kelly date back more than two decades and were featured in a 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly.

— Additional reporting by Khanyisile Ngcobo

Reuters


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