For the first time on Wednesday, a minister spoke out about officiating R.Kelly and Aaliyah’s illegal marriage in 1994.
On Wednesday, Nathan Edmond, 73, testified that he never heard of the R&B singers when he married them at a hotel in hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. The New York Times reported that Kelly’s team presented him with a confidentiality agreement but, instead of signing it, he gave his word he would not disclose details about the singers’ wedding.
“If it was supposed to be a confidentiality agreement, it should’ve been a lot more airtight than that,” Edmond also said.
According to The Times, Edmond testified that Kelly, then 27, and a 15-year-old Aaliyah wore “matching jogging suits” and exchanged vows. The wedding was completed in no more than 10 minutes, according to the minister.
Edmond also stated that he officiated the marriage as a favor for a friend, though he was offered $25 to $50 for his time.
“I didn’t think it was anybody special, I didn’t understand it at all,” Edmond said, referring to the 1994 wedding.
R. Kelly is currently on trial in New York for federal sex trafficking and racketeering. Prosecutors have zeroed in on the illegal union between Kelly and Aaliyah as they believe it shows a pattern of abuse on Kelly’s part.
During opening statements, U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez claimed Kelly married Aaliyah to avoid being prosecuted for impregnating her. A former live-in girlfriend testified that Kelly also married the teen so she could get an abortion without requiring her parents’ consent — as the procedure could be done with a spouse’s approval.
Aaliyah reached stardom in May 1994 with her hit single “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” which was penned by Kelly. Later that year, stories circulated that a 27-year-old Kelly secretly married the 15-year-old singer in Illinois — with Vibe magazine publishing the purported marriage license. Aaliyah’s parents reportedly had the union annulled.
Federal authorities in New York accused Kelly of bribing an Illinois government employee in 1994 to get a fake ID for Aaliyah so he could marry her. Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.
Kelly, who was arrested in July 2020, is also facing 13 federal counts in Illinois for various charges, including child pornography and obstruction of justice. On the state level, Kelly is facing 21 sex-related criminal charges in Cook County, Illinois. Last August, authorities in Minnesota charged Kelly with two counts of prostitution with a person younger than 18 in connection with an alleged 2001 incident.
Kelly has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.
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[Featured image: R. Kelly, Aaliyah Haughton/AP Photo/File]