R. Kelly reportedly under investigation over unearthed sex tape with a minor

Prosecutors in Chicago are apparently looking into an unearthed video allegedly showing R. Kelly engaging in sexual acts with an underage girl.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in her defamation lawsuit against President Trump, stated Thursday that he handed the tape over to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office last weekend, as he is representing a man he calls a whistleblower against Kelly. CNN has seen the newly surfaced video, which “appears to show Kelly having sex with a girl who refers to her body parts as 14 years old.”

R. Kelly performing at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performing at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Feb. 21, 2018. (Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

A senior law enforcement official revealed to the New Yorker that the tape may lead to an indictment of the R&B singer.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office tells Yahoo, “We cannot confirm nor deny an investigation.”

A lawyer representing R. Kelly is questioning the reports in a statement provided to Yahoo.

“The calls and emails I received were the first I’ve heard of these allegations. I understand that CNN says that they have seen this video. If the video were what it is claimed to be, by sharing it with CNN Mr. Avenatti would be committing a felony, as would the reporter who viewed it,” Steve Greenberg said Thursday afternoon. “I doubt if either would put themselves in that position. That combined with the other facts that I know lead me to question the reports.”

He continued, “I have not been contacted by anyone connected with law enforcement, nor has R Kelly. Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever. He would like to be able to continue to write and sing and produce and perform.”

Greenberg also called out how the reports were prompted by Avenatti, “who himself was the subject of unfavorable news articles just yesterday. Timing is everything.” (Avenatti agreed Wednesday to relinquish financial control of his law firm after he was accused of hiding millions.)

Avenatti told CNN, “My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly. He identified the two of them on the videotape. He worked for and has known R. Kelly for decades and he met the girl on a number of occasions.”

The sex tape, which runs 42 minutes and 45 seconds, is explicit and disturbing, CNN reported.

According to CNN, “There are two scenes on the video: one apparently in a living room and another in a bedroom. A naked man who appears to be R. Kelly is seen performing multiple sex acts with the girl. She is heard calling him ‘daddy’ multiple times.”

The girl apparently refers to her genitalia as 14 years old six times in the video. She and the man both urinate on each other, per CNN, mirroring the acts Kelly was arrested for 17 years ago. In 2002, Kelly was indicted in Illinois on child-pornography charges related to an alleged sex tape of the singer, then 32, with a 14-year-old girl. He was acquitted in 2008.

During the trial, it was questioned whether the man on the tape was the singer and whether an identifying mole on Kelly was visible in that video. In the new video, CNN reports that a small mole can be seen on the man’s back to the left of his spine.

Avenatti said in a statement Thursday that he was retained in April 2018 “by multiple clients in connection with allegations of sexual assault of minors by musical artist Robert Kelly (R. Kelly).”

He noted that the VHS video was “recently uncovered and recovered” and turned over. He said this tape “is not the same evidence previously seen and used in connection” with the 2002 indictment. Avenatti added, “The time frame of the sexual assaults depicted in the video is within the Illinois statute of limitations.”

Avenatti later issued a second statement in which he referred to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx by name and in which he gives more detail about the content of the video.

Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct with women and minors for more than two decades. That was recently the subject of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly, which thrust the #MuteRKelly movement back into the spotlight. The singer denied all allegations in the docuseries, something his lawyer doubled down on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a documentary that regurgitated long ago rejected claims, he has been adjudged guilty in the public eye. In this age of hashtags we are too quick to rush to judgment simply because something is associated with a hashtag. A hashtag does not make claims credible,” Greenberg said in the statement.

“All of the claims by these women were brought forth years ago, rejected by the police, and/or rejected by the courts, but now for their own gain they have rehashed them. Each of the women in that documentary are out for money, whether they have suddenly filed a lawsuit, they have all of a sudden released their own song, or they have written a book. Indeed, some of the women are going on a ‘Surviving R Kelly Tour,’ charging for people to hear them speak about their lives. Accuse R Kelly and boom, make a buck,” he continued.

“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,” Greenberg concluded. “In this country people are entitled to presumption of innocence. Absent conclusive evidence, proof beyond reasonable doubt, I would ask that people follow the principles that make this country great… thanks to all his fans and their support. He will continue to work on his album.”

Unfazed by the backlash, Kelly announced last week that he will be going back on tour.

[Editor’s note: This post was originally published Feb. 14, 2019 at 3:20 p.m. ET. and was updated to include the statement from R. Kelly’s lawyer.]

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