On Wednesday, the minister who officiated R. Kelly and Aaliyah Haughton’s 1994 wedding testified under subpoena at Kelly’s ongoing federal racketeering and sex trafficking trial.
In his testimony, 73-year-old minister Nathan Edmond claimed he’d never met either Kelly or Aaliyah before the ceremony and that he’d been asked to officiate the marriage between the two singers by Keith Williams, a mutual friend he had in common with Kelly.
I didn’t think it was anybody special. I didn’t understand it at all,” the ordained Chicago minister said in court on September 1, day 10 of Kelly’s Brooklyn trail.
Edmond further detailed that he married Kelly and Aaliyah at a hotel located in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. According to the minister, the marriage ceremony lasted less than 10 minutes and the couple wore matching “jogging suits.“
The wedding attendees included himself, Kelly, Aaliyah, Williams and “about three other gentlemen” the minister didn’t know personally, reports Buzzfeed News.
“The door opened to the bedroom and out stepped Aaliyah and Mr. Kelly,” the 73-year-old testified.
“They both had one leg on the jogging suit up to the knee,” he recalled. “You couldn’t see her [Aaliyah’s] whole face because her hair was over half of her face.”
Edmond’s testimony came just one day after what would have been the 27th anniversary of Kelly and Aaliyah’s union had their marriage not been annulled when the latter’s parents found out about it.
As prosecutors have extensively argued throughout the trial, Aaliyah was 15 years old at the time of her 1994 wedding to Kelly, who was then 27. CNN reports that prosecutors also alleged, “a member of Kelly’s enterprise bribed a local official to create a fake ID [for Aaliayah] so the marriage could take place.”
Prosecutors claimed Kelly had gotten Aaliyah pregnant and “planned the marriage so that he could be protected from criminal charges because a wife cannot testify against her husband,”Hiphopraisedmetheblog.com previously reported
The marriage license from the union, which has Edmond’s signature on it, falsely reported that Aaliyah was 18 at the time of the wedding.
Edmond’s testimony was conducted through a video conference via a TV screen placed in the courtroom. According to the minister, the reason he’d never spoken out about officiating the wedding before — despite being contacted by the media many times throughout the decades — was because Kelly had asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement before the wedding ceremony took place.
“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 recalled his reaction being to Kelly’s non-disclosure agreement at that time.
He further detailed that although he never signed the document, he’d given Kelly his word that he would never speak on the marriage publicly. Edmond also shared that he’d decline to accept the money he was offered to officiate the wedding, which Buzzfeed News detailed was “somewhere between $25 and $50.”