The minister who officiated R. Kelly and Aaliyah’s 1994 wedding spoke about the illegal union between the two singers for the first time ever Wednesday during testimony at Kelly’s criminal trial in Brooklyn.
Nathan Edmond, a 73-year-old ordained minister in Chicago, testified about the ceremony under subpoena, marking the first time he’s spoken publicly about the wedding, which at the time the two singers denied had occurred; the testimony came one day after what would have been the 27th anniversary of the marriage, CNN reports.
“I didn’t think it was anybody special. I didn’t understand it at all,” Edmond said of the ceremony, which took place in a Rosemont, Illinois hotel and lasted about 10 minutes. It was the first time Edmond had met both singers.
“The door opened to the bedroom and out stepped Aaliyah and Mr. Kelly. They both had one leg on the jogging suit up to the knee. You couldn’t see her whole face because her hair was over half of her face.”
Edmond, who wasn’t paid for his services, testified that Kelly, Aaliyah, friend Keith Williams and “about three other gentlemen” were present for the August 31st, 1994 wedding.
Kelly’s illegal marriage to the then-underage Aaliyah — and the illegally obtained marriage license that said Aaliyah was 18 and not her actual age of 15 — has been a focus of the opening weeks of Kelly’s Brooklyn trial on federal racketeering charges; in addition to the allegations of sexual abuse, Kelly is accused of using his influence and money to run a criminal enterprise that, in this case, made it possible for him to acquire a fraudulent marriage license from a Chicago county clerk, as Kelly’s former tour manager testified earlier in the trial.
While Edmond declined to sign a non-disclosure agreement at the time — “I looked at it, I read it, then I kind of chuckled… and said it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on,” Edmond told the court, Buzzfeed reports — he steadfastly refused to speak about the Kelly and Aaliyah wedding until he was subpoenaed to do so by federal prosecutors; Edmond testified via video from Chicago.
Neither prosecutors nor Kelly’s lawyers questioned Edmond about whether he thought Aaliyah appeared too young at the time of her marriage to Kelly, CNN reports. Prosecutors previously admitted the fraudulent marriage license into evidence.