CNN reported Thursday that it has seen the video that lawyer Michael Avenatti claims shows R. Kelly assaulting an underage girl—and that the “clear and explicit” footage “appears to show” the disgraced singer “having sex with a girl who refers to her body parts as 14 years old.”
In the 42-minute video, CNN reports, “a naked man who appears to be R. Kelly” performs “multiple sex acts with the girl.” The girl’s age remains unclear—but both she and the man reportedly reference her “14-year-old p***y.” She reportedly calls him “daddy” multiple times, and after asking her to urinate, the footage appears to show the singer urinating on the young girl.
Avenatti said in a statement that Kelly engages in oral, anal and vaginal sex with the girl and can be identified by a mole on the left side of her back.
A senior law-enforcement official told The New Yorker Thursday that the tape’s discovery could soon lead to the singer being indicted in Illinois. That official, and two other sources familiar with the tape, identified R. Kelly as the man in the video, and said that the girl was underage.
Avenatti first broke the news of the tape’s existence earlier Thursday in a lengthy statement on Twitter.
The celebrity lawyer explained that in April 2018, his office was retained by “multiple” women “in connection with allegations of sexual assault of minors by musical artist Robert Kelly (R.Kelly).” Investigating those allegations, Avenatti added, “resulted in the discovery of significant new evidence conclusively establishing Mr. Kelly’s illegal sexual assault of young girls.”
The evidence includes, he said, “a VHS videotape of Mr. Kelly engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage. This tape, which is clear, is approximately 45 minutes in length and has never previously been publicly disclosed or, until recently, provided to law enforcement.” He added that the crimes allegedly committed in the video occurred within Illinois’ statute of limitations.
Avenatti added that his office has since provided the tape to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office told CNN that they could not confirm or deny an investigation.
But this wouldn’t be the first charge for Kelly in Illinois. In 2002, he was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography in connection with a tape from the late '90s that allegedly showed Kelly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old. He was acquitted on those charges in 2008.
This is also far from the first time that Kelly has faced allegations of sexual assault. Several women accused the artist of sexual misconduct in Surviving R. Kelly, a six-hour series detailing his alleged systematic abuse of young, mostly black women. In 2017, BuzzFeed published a bombshell report alleging that Kelly was holding a group of women involuntarily in what some of their relatives called a “cult.”
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told CNN, “We are unaware of any new information involving Mr. Kelly.” “We have not been contacted by anyone,” he added. “We have not been informed about any new information by anyone and we have not been contacted by law enforcement.”
Kelly has previously denied all of the allegations against him. Greenberg told The Associated Press last month that “[Kelly] never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”
Avenatti thinks otherwise. “Mr. Kelly is a predator and a criminal who has preyed on young, vulnerable girls for far too long,” he concluded in his statement. “The time has come for him to finally be held accountable for his actions.”