By: Natasha Archary
In the latest out of R. Kelly’s racketeering and sex trafficking trial, the singer’s former tour manager Demetrius Smith testified that he had reason to believe that Aaliyah was pregnant with Kelly’s baby while she was still a minor.
Smith who managed Kelly from 1984 to 1996 said, “Kelly told me that Aaliyah was in trouble.”
He was advised not to call Barry Hankerson, Aaliyah’s uncle and Kelly’s manager at the time.
According to Smith, the conversation occurred before a concert and he was instructed to book an overnight flight after the show. With bodyguard Tyree Jameson along, Smith said, “As soon as the show was over, we got in the car and went to the airport.”
R. Kelly reportedly closed his eyes while Smith recounted the “I believe I can fly” hitmaker’s exact words, “Aaliyah man, she thinks she’s pregnant.”
Demetrius Smith testified that while he was against what was happening between the two singers, he obtained two IDs for Aaliyah. The first required him to bribe a clerk from the Illinois Department of Human Services with $500.
The second was a fake work ID from a mail courier company he didn’t remember the name of. Both the ID cards didn’t include Aaliyah’s age and neither were generally accepted as proof of identification for a marriage license, according to a clerk.
The court heard how Kelly and Aaliyah went to city hall on 30 August 1994 to apply for a marriage license. Aaliyah was only 15 at the time; Kelly was 27.
Kelly is being charged with racketeering and 14 underlying acts, including kidnapping, sex trafficking and forced labour and eight counts of violating the federal Mann Act, which outlaws sex trafficking across state lines. If convicted on all counts, he will face 10 years to life in prison.