Federal prosecutors add new bribery charge against R. Kelly

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn on Thursday added a new bribery charge against singer R. Kelly, an expansion of the racketeering indictment that alleges he sexually exploited women and girls and coerced them into illegal sexual activity. The new charge alleges he bribed a public officer on August 30, 1994, to create a fake identification for a woman.

While the woman is identified only as “Jane Doe #1,” the date of the alleged bribe is one day before the date listed on Kelly’s marriage certificate — published by Vibe in 1994 — to the singer Aaliyah. Aaliyah was only 15 when she and Kelly married, but the published marriage certificate lists her age as 18.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” earlier this year, Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said it was his understanding” that Aalyiah “did not claim to be 15, and in order to get married, she had to lie about her age.” Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001. 

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In addition to the racketeering charges from the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, Kelly is currently behind bars in Chicago while he awaits trial on charges of sexually abusing women and underage girls. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the all the charges against him.

Judges have denied Kelly’s bail requests on grounds that he might flee or tamper with witnesses. Kelly’s attorneys said he doesn’t have the money to flee, and said in court documents that he is only able to receive visits in jail from one of his two live-in girlfriends.  

After Thursday’s new charge, Greenberg said “we will review the indictment, which we just received, in greater detail, but at first look it does not appear to materially alter the landscape. We continue to look forward to the day he is free.”

The charges from the Eastern District of New York allege that Kelly ran a racketeering enterprise for two decades that was comprised of “managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and runners for the defendant, as well as members of his entourage” who recruited women and girls for sex with Kelly and transported them around the country. Federal prosecutors also allege he filmed the sexual activity, including with underage girls, which constitutes child pornography. 

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