By Mariah Haas, Julius Young
Published February 14, 2019
Attorney Michael Avenatti said on Thursday he has a new videotape which allegedly shows embattled singer R. Kelly "engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage."
In his statement posted on Twitter, Avenatti says he handed over the "recently uncovered and recovered" VHS tape to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx in Chicago, Illinois. Avenatti further claimed the video isn't the same evidence used in Kelly's 2008 trial when he was acquitted on child pornography charges.
"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," Avenatti alleged.
Avenatti is reportedly representing an individual who the attorney describes as a whistleblower against Kelly, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly," Avenatti said, per the news 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."
In response to the allegations, R. Kelly's attorney Steven Greenberg, said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday: "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. 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."
The statement continued: "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."
"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. 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. We will have no further comment. Thanks to all his fans and their support. He will continue to work on his album," the statement concluded.
Kelly and his attorney have for years denied allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls.
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, wouldn't confirm or deny the office is investigating to The Associated Press and did not immediately return our request for comment.
Hours after his initial statement, Avenatti released a second statement on Thursday, alleging the videotape "depicts" R. Kelly "engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl fourteen years of age."
In the statement, Avenatti further alleges that on the tape "Mr. Kelly engages in oral, anal and vaginal sex with the young girl in two separate rooms in his home on two separate days."
Avenatti also alleges that "Mr. Kelly and the victim also verbally refer to the girl as only being 14 on multiple occasions on the video."
Fox News has reached out to R. Kelly's lawyer regarding the new allegations.
Avenatti is best known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump. He said his office was retained in April 2018 by multiple people regarding allegations of sexual assault of minors by Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly.
Avenatti said the video surfaced during a 10-month investigation that included witness interviews and examination of documents and evidence throughout the U.S. He told The Associated Press the person who provided the tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video. He also said he didn't know where the person had kept the video or why they hadn't provided it to law enforcement previously.
Foxx asked potential victims to come forward last month after Lifetime aired the documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which revisited the allegations against Kelly and put a spotlight on new ones.
Following the January airing of the "Surviving R. Kelly" docu-series, in which several women accused the singer of sexual abuse and domestic violence, the "Ignition" singer has been faced with mounting sexual misconduct allegations.
At the time, Foxx told reporters (via TMZ), "The recent allegations against entertainer R. Kelly in a recent Lifetime docuseries are deeply, deeply disturbing. It is our job at the Cook County state attorney's office to investigate claims in the interest of justice and of public safety. I should stress that it takes courage to re-live and re-experience trauma by telling your story of sexual victimization, but we rely heavily on victim accounts and witness statements to prosecute cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence."
The docuseries also claimed that he preyed on and had sexual relations with underage girls who he kept in an alleged "sex cult."
R. Kelly has maintained his innocence since allegations of abuse first emerged. The singer's attorney, Steven Greenberg, told the Associated Press that the "Surviving R. Kelly" accusations were false, and simply "another round of stories [being used to] fill reality TV time." He added that it was inappropriate for a D.A. to characterize allegations she'd seen on TV before actually filing charges or launching an investigation into the claims.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.