Avenatti announced the news on Sunday night, writing on Twitter, “We have now uncovered how R Kelly was able to gain his acquittal in 2008: We have discovered substantial evidence that he and certain enablers engaged in systematic witness intimidation, evidence tampering, physical threats, and payments to witnesses. They rigged the trial.”
Kelly was taken to trial for 21 counts of child pornography in 2002, in connection with a videotape that showed him engaging in sexual acts and urinating on a young girl believed to be 14-years-old at the time. Even though it took six years for the trial to launch, a jury quickly acquitted Kelly of all charges in 2008.
Avenatti—who famously represented Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against Donald Trump—recently revealed that someone sent two more incriminating videos of Kelly to Avenatti’s office.
Avenatti said that he received a 45-minute VHS video on Feb. 14, which purportedly shows Kelly having sex with a different girl, also thought to be 14-years-old. Then, on Feb. 16, Avenatti said his offices had “become aware of the existence of a third tape, that allegedly shows further acts of sexual abuse of an underage girl by R Kelly,” Newsweek reports.
Last week, Avenatti stated that he had passed on “extensive information, including the videotape described above and witnesses” to Chicago’s Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, whom he feels would ultimately bring Kelly to trial.
The tapes haven’t been made public, but CNN shared that it had seen the second video, where the girl in the video “refers to her body parts as 14-years-old,” the news network writes. Avenatti told CNN that the girl’s identity was disclosed by a whistleblower he is now representing.
Avenatti said, “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 met the girl on a number of occasions.”
On Monday, CNN revealed that a grand jury has now been convened in Cook County, Illinois, concerning these new allegations lodged against Kelly. However, the Cook County State’s Attorney would not substantiate news of any proceedings or a new investigation.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg told CNN on Monday that he hadn’t been made aware of a grand jury.
“No one from law enforcement has contacted me or my client regarding any potential investigation,” Greenberg said. “ Certainly they are aware that I am representing him so if there were any reason to speak to him I would suspect they would have reached out to me.”
He continued, “Grand jury proceedings are, by law, supposed to be secret, so to the extent people are commenting on what may or may not be going on today are possibly violating the law. Still, I can tell you that I am unaware of any proceedings,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg also told CNN that he also wasn’t aware that the new tape had been handed over to the State’s Attorney.
“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.”