Lawyer meets with Cook County prosecutors to discuss alleged R. Kelly sex tape
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Los Angeles attorney Michael Avenatti met with local prosecutors for several hours Friday to discuss a video the lawyer turned over to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office that he claims shows R&B star R. Kelly having sex with an underage girl.
Talking to reporters as he left the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Friday afternoon — approximately six hours after he was seen entering the building — Avenatti said based on what he’s seen on the tape, the Chicago-born singer “deserves to go to prison for the rest of his life.”
“I am confident that the predator known as R. Kelly is soon to be indicted and charged for engaging in illegal sexual assault in connection with, certainly, the victim on the tape I supplied, as well as others,” Avenatti said.
“I don’t think R. Kelly should go free another day of his life, due to the conduct that’s depicted on that tape. This guy is a predator, he is a sexual abuser of young girls, and he deserves to go to prison for the rest of his life.”
Avenatti would not say how he got the video or when it was filmed, but said the time frame of when it was made would be within the statute of limitations for prosecutors to charge Kelly with crimes. Avenatti turned over the tape, reportedly a VHS tape that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, to Cook County prosecutors earlier this month.
Avenatti said he represents a man who is a longtime associate of Kelly’s who now is acting as a “whistleblower.” A report by CNN said the video runs longer than 40 minutes and shows the singer engaging in “multiple sex acts” with a young girl, and the singer urinating on the girl — images that are similar to those on a video tape that was at the center of Kelly’s 2002 indictment for child pornography. Kelly was acquitted of those charges after a trial in 2008. The alleged victim in that case and her parents refused to cooperate with prosecutors, who said the video was filmed around 1998 in the basement of Kelly’s Lake View home.
Avenatti would not say whether the video was of the same 14-year-old who was in the video that led to Kelly’s previous indictment.
On Thursday, a lawyer for an ex-girlfriend of Kelly’s told the Chicago Sun-Times the woman had returned to Chicago from Atlanta to meet with prosecutors this week to discuss the tape.
Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta-based attorney representing the ex-girlfriend who flew to Chicago Thursday night to meet with prosecutors, said his client wasn’t shown the alleged video but provided information to prosecutors about her relationship with Kelly during a meeting Friday.
In response to Avanatti’s remarks, Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg said, “If R. Kelly is charged with anything, we will address it in court, and I am confident he will leave through the front door.”
Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles-based attorney who represents multiple women who have accused Kelly of sexual abuse, also announced Friday she has reached out to officials in “a different jurisdiction” than Chicago about the tape.
In a statement emailed to the Chicago Sun-Times, Allred said she bases her concern on the CNN report that described the video as featuring a 14-year-old girl, the age, apparently, of one of her clients at the time they were involved with Kelly.
“I am very troubled that this tape has been viewed by the press and by other persons who are not law enforcement,” the statement read.
“I plan to take all appropriate steps ASAP to confirm if one of my clients is on this reported tape, and if she is portrayed on the tape, we will do everything legally possible to protect her and her rights.”
Avenatti said he did not believe the girl on the video was a client of Allred’s. Avenatti also said Allred’s announcement “came out of left field” and that Allred did not contact him before announcing that she had reached out to authorities.
Accusations against Kelly dating back to the early days of his stardom in the 1990s — ranging from having sex with minors, to more recent accounts of him keeping multiple women in cult-like domination — have seen renewed interest since the recent airing of a six-episode Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly.”
Last month, in response to outcry against the singer, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx held a news conference urging victims or witnesses to come forward, an unusual move that Greenberg blasted as soliciting people to “make up” allegations.