A sex tape showing R&B star R. Kelly allegedly assaulting an underage girl has been turned over to law enforcement in Cook County, an attorney investigating the matter said Thursday, as another attorney representing an ex-girlfriend of the singer said the woman was scheduled to meet with prosecutors to help identify anyone on the recording.
Los Angeles-based attorney Michael Avenatti issued a statement Thursday saying that his firm was retained last April by several people who alleged they were sexually assaulted by Kelly. The 10-month investigation, Avenatti said, “has now resulted in the discovery of significant new evidence conclusively establishing Mr. Kelly’s illegal sexual assault of young girls.”
“Further, the time frame of sexual assaults depicted in the video is within the Illinois statute of limitations,” he added.
Avenatti says his firm found a previously unknown, 45-minute video that clearly shows Kelly “engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage.” The tape, witnesses and other information were turned over to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
The state’s attorney’s office declined to comment Thursday.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, denied any wrongdoing on behalf of his client.
“As we have said before, #RKelly, since being wrongly accused years ago, has always followed the law,” Greenberg tweeted.
He followed up with a longer statement saying neither he nor Kelly had been contacted by law enforcement regarding the new allegations and lamented the public outcry following the airing last month of a Lifetime documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly.”
“Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever,” the statement says. “He would like to continue to be able to continue to write and sing and produce and perform. Unfortunately, as a result of a documentary that regurgitated long ago rejected claims, he has been adjudged guilty in the public eye.”
Ex-girlfriend to meet with prosecutors
An Atlanta woman who was previously involved in a relationship with R. Kelly was en route to Chicago ahead of a scheduled meeting with Cook County prosecutors to discuss the alleged sex tape, her attorney, Gerald A. Griggs, said Thursday.
Griggs said prosecutors requested the meeting in Chicago. He said he believed the woman will be able to identify the people seen in the new video.
“Basically, it’s my hope that this will be the impetus [for the state’s attorney’s office] to move forward with charges against R. Kelly,” Griggs said in a phone interview. “We want to make sure all the survivors’ voices are heard.”
The new tape’s existence was first reported in the New Yorker in a story by former Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis, who first broke the news of Kelly’s alleged sexual impropriety in 2000. Kelly was acquitted of charges in 2008 over another sex tape that officials claimed showed him engaging in sex acts with a 14-year-old girl.
CNN reported Thursday that the news organization had viewed the newly discovered tape. According to CNN, the tape features two scenes in which a naked man, “who appears to be R. Kelly,” can be seen performing sex acts with a girl who refers to the man as “daddy” several times.
On six occasions, CNN reported, the girl refers to her genitalia as 14 years old. At one point, the man in the video asks her to urinate. After she does, the man urinates on her.
Greenberg’s statement said that if the video shows what has been reported, it would be a felony for Avenatti to share it and a felony for a reporter to view it.
“I doubt if either would put themselves in that position. That combined with other facts that I know lead me to question the reports,” he wrote.
Greenberg went as far as to claim Avenatti — who was the subject of a domestic violence allegation, and who also represents porn actress Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Trump — released the video to distract from unfavorable coverage of himself. And he decried the rush to judgment.
“There are three countries in the world where people are presumed guilty, China, North Korea, and Myanmar. Unfortunately that is the standard of justice that is now being applied to R. Kelly,” he wrote.
Last month, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a public plea for accusers to come forward so that her office could investigate. Foxx said she was “sickened” by the accounts described in the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary but said she has not — and cannot — open a criminal probe in the absence of cooperating witnesses.
After the plea, at least two women contacted the state’s attorney’s office with new allegations of sexual impropriety by Kelly.
Neither woman still lives in Chicago and one of them declined to pursue any criminal proceedings after reaching out to prosecutors, the woman said at the time. The other woman, who now lives in Detroit, told the Sun-Times on Thursday afternoon that a CPD detective had traveled to Detroit last week to interview her.
Even decades-old allegations could be trouble for Kelly. State lawmakers in 2017 eliminated the statute of limitations for prosecutors to charge sex crimes against children from cases from 1997 forward.