LAWYER MEETS WITH COOK CO. PROS­E­CU­TORS TO DIS­CUSS AL­LEGED R. KELLY SEX TAPE

At­tor­ney says he is ‘con­fi­dent’ em­bat­tled singer will be charged

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - ANDY GRIMM RE­PORTS,

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 on 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 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-yearold 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.

“No ID took place to­day,” Griggs said. “[Pros­e­cu­tors] went over their pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship and wanted to know who was around him [when they were dat­ing].”

Griggs said he be­lieves pros­e­cu­tors have two other wit­nesses who could iden­tify the peo­ple in the al­leged sex tape and his client was not needed to make any iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

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 An­ge­les­based 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.

FRANK MICELOTTA/IN­VI­SION/AP FILES

BY ANDY GRIMM, STAFF RE­PORTERR. Kelly per­forms in 2013.

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