The latest video that reportedly shows singer R. Kelly having sex with an underaged girl is probably the final nail in his career’s coffin. There has been a resurgence of decades-old scrutiny over Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of minors since the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” aired last month. He has so far avoided criminal charges this time around, but that’s likely to end soon with this new video surfacing.
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Attorney Michael Avenatti said Thursday that he has new damning video evidence that he gave to prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, where Kelly calls home in Chicago. The high-profile lawyer said in a statement that he was hired last April in connection to multiple allegations of Kelly sexually assaulting minors. He claimed to have a 45-minute VHS tape as evidence, which, despite its similarities, was not the same video got Kelly indicted in 2002 — and acquitted in 2008 — for child porn.
“Due to the importance of ensuring justice is finally done in this matter and because we are deeply concerned that Mr. Kelly has not been held accountable for his sexual abuse of young African-American girls, whom are especially vulnerable, we have done so on a pro bono basis,” Avenatti said in a statement.
CNN reported Thursday that it has seen the tape that appears to show Kelly, now 52, having sex with a girl who can be heard suggesting on the video that she’s just 14 years old. Avenatti is representing a man who apparently gave the lawyer the video.
“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,” Avenatti said, according to CNN.
One major legal problem that Kelly faces is that Illinois has no statute of limitations on sex crimes against minors. In 2017, Illinois enacted legislation that ended a requirement for child sex abuse victims to file a report within 20 years of turning 18 years old.
There’s also growing pressure to put an end to Kelly’s alleged abuses. Chicago residents appear to be in no mood to let Kelly off the hook for a second time if a recent protest against him in the Windy City was any indication. After the docuseries aired, demonstrators rallied outside a building leased by Kelly, calling for a boycott of his music.
At the same time, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx probably keeps Kelly awake at night worrying about ending up behind bars. Foxx, the first Black woman to serve as the county’s prosecutor, has been asking for victims to come forward. This new video and witness could be exactly what she needs to prosecute Kelly.
“Surviving R. Kelly” has already prompted further legal scrutiny, which means law enforcement probably already has enough to charge him now that this new video has surfaced. It seems like just a matter of time before Kelly finds himself facing justice, again.