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Prosecutors Are Reportedly Ready to Indict R. Kelly for Sexual Assault
Law enforcement is reportedly moving toward an indictment for R. Kelly in the wake of a newly-surfaced video of the R&B singer assaulting a minor, new reports from The New Yorker and CNN claim. In the video, which CNN says it has seen, the girl “refers to her body parts as 14 years old.” Two other sources confirmed their knowledge of the tape to The New Yorker.
Michael Avenatti is representing the source of the tape, he says. He told CNN he handed the tape to the Cook Count State’s Attorney’s Office in Kelly’s hometown of Chicago last weekend. “My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly,” he told the outlet. “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.”
This would not be, of course, Kelly’s first indictment for sex-related offenses: In 2002 and at the age of 35, he was brought in on 21 counts of child pornography charges as a result of a video from the late ’90s. The video appeared to show Kelly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, but the singer was acquitted in 2008.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, issued the following statement to CNN, claiming ignorance of the tape: “We are unaware of any new information involving Mr. Kelly,” he said. “We have not been contacted by anyone. We have not been informed about any new information by anyone and we have not been contacted by law enforcement.” The State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Kelly has been dogged by claims of sexual misconduct for the better part of two decades, but renewed interest in his reported sexual perversions began in earnest in 2017 when BuzzFeed published the first exposé on Kelly’s “sex cult,” that the website claims he runs out of his homes. (It was written by Jim DeRogatis, who also authored Thursday’s New Yorker article.) It reached new heights in January with the release of Lifetime’s six-part Surviving R. Kelly docuseries.
Avenatti also released a statement on Twitter regarding the video. “Included in the evidence we recently uncovered and recovered is a VHS videotape of Mr. Kelly engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage,” it stated. “This tape, which is clear, is approximately 45 minutes in length and has never previously been publicly disclosed or, until recently, provided to law enforcement.”
He added, “The time has come for [R. Kelly] to finally be held accountable for his actions.”