Watch CBS News

New R. Kelly sex tape is "bombshell of epic proportions," attorney Michael Avenatti claims

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misstated when Mr. Avenatti came in possession of the tape in question.   

A law enforcement source told CBS News prosecutors in Chicago have obtained a nearly 45-minute VHS tape recording purportedly showing R. Kelly  engaging in sex acts a 14-year-old girl. 

Lawyer Michael Avenatti turned the video over to the Cook County state's attorney and told CBS News he got the tape from someone who knows both R. Kelly and the alleged victim "extremely well." CBS News has not viewed any of the footage, but Avenatti said he and Illinois prosecutors are certain Kelly is the man on the tape, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan. 

Avenatti, who was approached by an individual seeking representation in April, said he received the tape earlier this month. The tape is believed to be from the late 1990s. He claims R. Kelly's voice can be heard on the recording and that a telltale mole on his back is clearly visible.

"This is deviant conduct … R. Kelly deserves to spend the rest of his life in a penitentiary," Avenatti said. "There's 2 different scenes shot on two separate days on this tape … I was disgusted by what I viewed …This is a disgusting video."
CBS News has confirmed the video was recently turned over to the Cook County state's attorney in Chicago, where Kelly lives and has a music studio. 
Asked if he believes Kelly might be arrested in the next few days, Avenatti said, "I want to be very careful on how I answer this question. I don't think it's going to take a significant amount of time for R. Kelly to be indicted and arrested in Chicago."

Avenatti said he could not comment on whether or not the person in the tape is cooperating with law enforcement. 

On Thursday, Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, said Avenatti may have committed a felony by showing the video to reporters. Greenberg again denied Kelly did anything illegal.
"I have a client who hasn't committed any crime, so I don't have a lot of work to do as a criminal defense lawyer," Greenberg said. 
Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008 after disputing he was the man seen in a grainy video having sex with an underage girl.  Avenatti said the tape in that case is different from the one he provided. He did not say whether the new tape showed a different alleged victim.
"This is a bombshell of epic proportions … this is the piece of evidence that I think prosecutors have needed for the better part of two decades. In my opinion, it's over for R. Kelly," Avenatti said. 

Kelly's attorney said his client has been "adjudged guilty in the public eye," and blamed the recent airing of the lifetime docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly." The Cook County state attorney's office says it will not confirm or deny any ongoing investigations.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.