She told jurors that she first met Aaliyah shortly before the young singer began to work on her first album, “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number,” with Mr. Kelly. Aaliyah traveled on a tour with him to “get her feet wet” in the industry around 1992 or 1993, Angela told jurors, but it was during that trip, she said, that she saw the two engaged in a sexual act.
Aaliyah would have been 13 or 14 at the time.
On a separate stop in Washington, D.C., during the tour, Angela recalled that she and a group of other girls including Aaliyah were reprimanded for breaking the singer’s instructions. Angela told jurors that they had made a trip to a 7-Eleven convenience store for food, but that Mr. Kelly had told them not to leave their hotel. When he learned of their disobedience, he demanded sex, she said.
“Robert told all of us we would have to put out,” she said. “It was dues time,” she added, explaining to jurors that the singer often presented having sex with him as a form of paying their dues.
Angela said that she refused the singer’s advances. While Aaliyah was among the girls that Mr. Kelly had addressed, she was not aware whether the two had sexual encounters immediately following that incident.
Understand the R. Kelly Trial
What are the charges? Mr. Kelly is facing one charge 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 prostitution.
Still, Mr. Kelly’s interactions with Aaliyah have long drawn public attention.
In the mid-1990s, Vibe Magazine reported the details of the fake identification that was procured so Aaliyah could marry Mr. Kelly in 1994. Witnesses have said that the union came about because Mr. Kelly believed that Aaliyah may have been pregnant and feared that he could be prosecuted for statutory rape.
And as Mr. Kelly’s conduct came under renewed scrutiny at the height of the Me Too movement, both installments of the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary series delved into the accusations.
“If people would have protected Aaliyah, so many other girls wouldn’t have gotten touched,” a former boyfriend, Damon Dash, said during the second portion of the Lifetime series. “Aaliyah was like the sacrificial lamb for all that.”