Michael Avenatti — the attorney who gained notoriety for representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Trump — took to Twitter on Thursday to claim that he has turned over to police a new video tape allegedly showing R. Kelly “engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage.” The tape may lead to an indictment in Illinois, an official has told The New Yorker.
Avenatti is representing a man whom he describes as a whistleblower against Kelly. Avenatti said he handed the recovered VHS videotape over to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office in Chicago last weekend and that a new investigation is reportedly underway.
“My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly,” said Avenatti. “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.”
The tape in question has been viewed by CNN. The outlet described the tape as lasting 42 minutes and 45 seconds and is “clear and explicit,” with the man believed to be Kelly and the girl repeatedly referring to her genitalia as “14-year-old pussy.” According to CNN, the man asks the girl to urinate and, after she does, he urinates on her.
Kelly was previously arrested in 2002 for his alleged involvement in a child pornography tape that featured similar sexual acts. He was acquitted when the case went to trial six years later. Lifetime’s recent six-part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly — which averaged 2.1 million viewers, a significant number for the cable network — explored that scandal in particular, along with sexual abuse allegations from a number of women, including Kelly’s ex-wife, Andrea Lee, former underage partner Lizzette Martinez and former backup singer Jovante Cunningham.
Avenatti said the new tape is unconnected to Kelly’s previous criminal matter and that the alleged assaults depicted in the video are within Illinois’ statute of limitations.
In response to the new claims, Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told CNN in a statement on Thursday: “We are unaware of any new information involving Mr. Kelly. 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.”
According to Jim DeRogatis — the reporter who broke the 2002 Kelly sex tape story — prosecutors are moving to indict Kelly after receiving the tape. A senior law-enforcement official told DeRogatis that an indictment is pending and Kelly could be arrested soon.
Tandra R. Simonton, chief communications officer for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, told The Hollywood Reporter, “We cannot confirm or deny an investigation.”
In the wake of Surviving R. Kelly, the explosive claims made in the doc gave rise to the #MuteRKelly campaign, with a number of artists and former collaborators speaking out against Kelly, and more either pulling their collaborations from streaming services or expressing their regret for working with him. Sony BMG — the parent company of Kelly’s record label, RCA Records — has since parted ways with the disgraced musician. Kelly’s music has been banned from radio stations in New York, L.A. and Dallas.
Prosecutors in Chicago, New York and Atlanta are actively seeking information about Kelly in light of the accusations made in Surviving R. Kelly. Foxx has previously said her office was inundated with calls in January after the doc premiered and urged the public to come forward with information about potential victims of the R&B singer.
Kelly has denied all allegations.
Feb. 14, 12:50 p.m. Updated to include The New Yorker‘s report about a possible indictment.