Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has accused R. Kelly of allegedly paying $2 million to keep a victim in a child pornography case away from the witness stand during his 2008 trial.
“R. Kelly bought his acquittal,” Avenatti said at a news conference on Monday, speaking of the infamous 2008 case that ended with the R&B singer’s acquittal on all charges.
At the press conference, Avenatti, who is facing his own legal troubles, shared facts behind a multi-year effort by Kelly to prevent his sexual abuse of several girls from becoming public, including paying an associate up to $100,000 to retrieve missing pornographic videos of him having sex with minors.
Three of Kelly’s victims and their families are now Avenatti’s clients, the lawyer also announced.
Avenatti’s press conference comes days after Kelly was indicted with 18 federal charges, including allegedly taking underage girls across state lines for sex.
Separate federal indictments were filed in both Chicago and Brooklyn, including child pornography charges, enticement of a minor, obstruction of justice, racketeering, transporting underage girls for sex, and sexual exploitation of a child.
The alleged acts are said to have occurred in New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and California, with two of the victims in the New York case said to be under 16 and another one was under 18 at the time.
Avenatti said two associates of Kelly turned tapes of the singer having sex with minors over to him, and that he turned them over to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office earlier this year. He added that Foxx’s office turned those tapes over to federal prosecutors.
Steve Greenberg, an attorney for Kelly, responded to last week’s arrest by stating that “the conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”
Kelly just wants to make “wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans who believe in him,” Greenberg said.
Earlier this year, Kelly was charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. In May, he was charged with 11 more state counts of sexual assault and abuse in Illinois.
He has pleaded not guilty to all state charges.
The singer is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for a bond hearing.