A lawyer for R. Kelly begrudgingly admitted on Tuesday that the disgraced R&B singer had “sexual contact” with the artist Aaliyah while she was underage. During a final pre-trial hearing on Tuesday ahead of Kelly’s trial in Brooklyn Federal Court, defense lawyer Thomas Farinella made the admission to Judge Ann Donnelly. Kelly, 54, is accused of a slew of crimes, including that he bribed an official to issue a 1994 marriage certificate for the air that said Aaliyah was 18. In reality, prosecutors allege, Aaliyah was only 15 and Kelly was 27.
“Are you going to deny that there was sexual contact with Jane Doe 1? They were married,” Donnelly asked in court Tuesday, using the pseudonym prosecutors use to refer to Aaliyah in the case, according to the New York Daily News. After a deep sigh, Farinella responded, “No.” Later, when prosecutors tried to get Farinella to admit that Aaliyah was underage at the time of the marriage, Farinella said he team is “not prepared to concede that right now.” The trial against Kelly is set to begin on August 18.