The witness, a former backup interpreter, said that 'she had met the singers while they were engaging in a sexual act around 1993, a year before their illegal marriage.
An old replacement interpreter for R. Kelly testified that she saw Mr. Kelly engage in sexual intercourse with R&B singer Aaliyah around 1993, when Aaliyah was only 13 or 14 years old.
The woman, who testified under the only name Angela, told jurors at Mr. Kelly's Brooklyn Criminal Trial that she was playing with Mr. Kelly on tour when she went to visit to the singer in her tour bus.
But as she started to open the door, Angela said, she saw Mr. Kelly, who was in the her mid-twenties at the time, and Aaliyah "in a sexual situation," she told jurors. Aaliyah was sitting in a chair, she said, and Mr. Kelly was kneeling down and appeared to perform a sexual act on the girl.
Angela " shut the door sharply, "she said, and never spoke with Mr. Kelly about what she saw.
The testimony took place on the 15th iour trial of Mr. Kelly, in which five accusers said that Mr. Kelly had sex with them when they were minors . But Angela's tale stands out from the rest: Aaliyah, whom Mr. Kelly illegally married in 1994, is the youngest girl the singer has been accused of sexually abusing. And Angela became the first accuser to testify that she had seen the two engage in sexual acts. Aaliyah, whose full name was Aaliyah D ana Haughton, died in a plane crash in 2001.
M r. Kelly, 54, faces one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits the transport of people across state s for the purpose of prostitution. He denied the charges and pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Aaliyah , who was one of the stars of the most famous music of the 1990s, was the focus of Mr. Kelly's trial. The marriage of the two singers, using forged documents when Aaliyah was 15 and Mr. Kelly was 27, prompted the first scrutiny of his encounters with underage girls.
Potential sex crimes dating back to the early 1990s are generally too old to be prosecuted. But the racketeering charge, which claims the singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was at the head of a criminal scheme that targeted underage women and girls for sexual purposes, gives the government more leeway.
Angela said she first met Mr. Kelly around 1991 when she was between 14 and 15 Tons. The singer started having sex with her when she was a minor and a high school student, she testified.
Angela recalled that Mr. Kelly often pressured her and several others who worked around him as backup performers to have sex.
She told jurors that she first met Aaliyah shortly before the young singer started working on her debut album, " Age Ain 't Nothing but a Number ", with Mr. Kelly. Aaliyah toured with him to "get their feet wet " in the ind. Around 1992 or 1993, Angela told jurors, but it was during this trip, she said, that she saw the two engage in sexual intercourse.
Aaliyah would have been 13 or 14 at the time.
On a separate shutdownin Washington, DC, while on tour, Angela recalled that she and a group of other girls, including Aaliyah, were reprimanded for breaking the singer's instructions. Angela told jurors they went to a 7-Eleven convenience store for food, but Mr Kelly told them not to leave their hotel. When he learned of their disobedience, he demanded sex, she said.
"Robert told us all that we had to turn off, ”she said. "It was time to pay, " she added, explaining to jurors that the singer often presented sex with him as a form of paying their dues.
Angela stated that she refused the singer's advances. While Aaliyah was among the girls that Mr. Kelly had spoken to, she was unsure whether the two had had sex immediately after this incident.
Understanding the R. Kelly Trial Map 1 of 4
Which are the fees? Mr. Kelly faces an accusation of racketeering based on sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping and forced labor, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting anyone across state lines for the purpose of prostitution .
Who testifies? The trial is brings together around six women , several of whom should testify. Prosecutors say the singer physically and psychologically abused many of them and controlled several aspecall of their lives, including when they could eat and use the toilet. At least three were minors.
His marriage to Aaliyah. Part of the case concerns R. Kelly's marriage to singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when they married in 1994. Mr. Kelly's former tour manager said R. Kelly bribed a government employee in 1994 so that he could get a fake ID for her.
The 2008 trial. The artist was acquitted in a high-profile criminal case brought against him on child pornography charges in 2008. The trial centered on a videotape which prosecutors say showed R. Kelly having sex. having sex with a 14 year old girl. She refused to testifyer. Here is a full timeline of the allegations .
Nonetheless, Mr. Kelly's interactions with Aaliyah have long attracted public attention.
In the mid-90s, Vibe Magazine a reported details of the fake ID which was obtained so that Aaliyah could marry Mr. Kelly in 1994. Witnesses said the union came about because Mr. Kelly believed that Aaliyah may have been pregnant and feared he might be prosecuted for rape.
And as Mr. Kelly's conduct did the 'subject to further scrutiny at the height of the Me Too movement, the two installments of the " Surviving R. Kelly ” documentary series plunged into accusations.
"If people had protected Aaliyah, so many other girls would not have been affected," ex-boyfriend Damon Dash said during the part two of the Lifetime series. "Aaliyah was like the sacrificial lamb for all of this.
Several witnesses during the trial testified on other aspects of the encounters between Mr. Kelly and Aaliyah. The minister who married the two spoke publicly for the first time earlier this month, telling jurors he had been asked to give his word that he would not discuss the matter. their 10-minute wedding ceremony at a Chicago-area hotel.
And one of the singer's former tour managers, Demetrius Smith , said he bribeda government employee for Aaliyah's fake ID as Mr. Kelly's inner circle began plotting the marriage. The union was called off in 1995, and Aaliyah requested that the details of their union be removed from her record two years later. His subsequent albums were produced without Mr. Kelly.
During his testimony, Mr. Smith described the two singers' first meeting in 1992. He said they had started working on his music together and seemed to be "more than friends from the very beginning," although he said he considered their interactions to be a positive one at first. unique and close working relationship.
But over time, the friendliness of their exchanges began to cause concern, Smith told jurors.
"Sometimes I was worried " he said. On at least one occasion, said Mr. Smith, their behavior prompted him to ask: "Robert, aren't you kidding Aaliyah?
Mr. Smith said he meant "flirt, flirt." Seduce her. "
Emily Palmer contributed reporting.