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Prosecutors turn over alleged child porn video to R. Kelly defense team

R. Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg said he believes video is the same as the tape at the heart of R&B singer’s 2008 trial.

R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after a hearing on sexual abuse charges on June 26, 2019.
AFP/Getty Images

Lawyers for R&B star R. Kelly soon will get a look at an alleged pornographic video that shows the singer having sex with an underage girl some 20 years ago, after Cook County prosecutors Wednesday turned over a DVD to the defense team.

In a courtroom crowded largely with fans supporting the singer — the largest such display at any court date since Kelly was arrested in February and charged with sexual abuse of four women — Judge Lawrence Flood warned the defense team not to leak the tape to the public. Kelly’s lawyer quickly retorted that prosecutors also should be on guard, noting that the footage, was reportedly from a VHS tape given to prosecutors by celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti.

“I don’t know if the state is going to do anything about the dissemination (of the video) that took place before these charges by their witnesses,” Greenberg said.

Flood said he hoped to see at least one of the four cases against Kelly go to trial “early next year,” which would be a marked contrast from when Kelly faced child pornography charges nearly two decades ago. In that case, Kelly was charged in 2002 and didn’t go to trial until 2008.

Kelly is charged with criminal sexual abuse in cases involving four victims, three of them minors, dating back to the late 1990s.

After the brief hearing Wednesday, Greenberg told reporters that he believes the tape was the same one as the one played for jurors in Kelly’s 2008 trial, when the singer was acquitted on all counts.

A fan waits for R&B singer R. Kelly to arrive at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for a hearing on June 26, 2019.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Avenatti in February located a VHS tape he claims shows the singer having sex with a 14-year-old girl, footage Avenatti said is different from what was played for the jury in 2008.

Outside the courthouse, some 20 women wore T-shirts with various slogans of support for Kelly, and a handful also carried homemade signs.

Camille “Kells” Mayfield , 32, of Evanston, showed off her tattoos inspired by the singer: a small portrait of Kelly on her shoulder; an image of his signature on her thigh and the words “strong” and “survivor” on her arms — matching the tattoos Kelly has on his arms.

“I am so pleased to see people come out to support this man from Chicago and his legacy,” Mayfield said. “He can’t make music if people slander his name all over the city and the world.”

Camille “Kells” Mayfield showing her support for R. Kelly. The tattoos on her forearms match Kelly’s own, and she also has a picture of the singer on her shoulder, and his signature tattooed on her leg
Andy Grimm for the Sun-Times