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Minister Speaks of Marrying R. Kelly, Aaliyah in 1994

Nathan Edmond says he performed ceremony as a favor to a friend
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2021 1:31 PM CDT
Minister Speaks of R. Kelly's Secret Wedding for First Time
In this courtroom artist's sketch, R. Kelly, left, listens during his trial in New York, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The 54-year-old Kelly has repeatedly denied accusations that he preyed on several alleged victims during a 30-year career highlighted by his mega hit "I Believe I Can Fly."   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

(Newser) – Nathan Edmond says the wedding he performed on Aug. 31, 1994, didn't seem like a big deal. "I didn’t think it was anybody special—I didn’t understand it at all," said the minister Wednesday in his first public comments on that ceremony, which involved a bride and groom he was unfamiliar with: R. Kelly and the singer Aaliyah, who were then 27 and 15. BuzzFeed reports Edmond, 73, testified that he and Kelly had a friend in common, Keith Williams, and that Williams asked him to marry the two as a favor. He said ceremony was 10 minutes at most, happened in a suburban Chicago hotel suite, and was attended only by Kelly, Aaliyah, Williams, and "about three other gentlemen."

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CNN reports Edmond wasn't asked whether he thought Aaliyah seemed young, but he did recount the overall appearance of the pair, who were wearing matching jogging suits: "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 says he was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement but refused, saying it looked shoddy from a legal perspective. But he says he gave his word he wouldn't discuss it, and that despite media requests he never did prior to the day's testimony.

CNN calls the marriage "a central part of the Brooklyn federal case against Kelly." The singer is accused of running a criminal enterprise, and prosecutors allege one of his men bribed a local official to get a fake ID for Aaliyah so the marriage could proceed. Prosecutors allege Kelly thought the young singer was pregnant and sought to marry her so she wouldn't have to testify against him; she died in a plane crash at age 22. The Daily Beast reports the trial has also heard testimony from a 17-year-old who said Kelly sexually assaulted her—two days after he married Aaliyah. (Read more R. Kelly stories.)

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