R. Kelly lawyer seeks copy of sex video to be used in sex-crimes case

R. Kelly leaves court in Chicago after a status hearing on his sexual assault charges, May 7, 2019. (Photo: TANNEN MAURY/ EPA-EFE)

CHICAGO — R&B singer R. Kelly and his lawyer were back in court here Tuesday to complain they still haven’t seen video evidence that allegedly shows the singer having sex with an underage girl decades ago and may be used against him at his upcoming sex-crimes trial.

Kelly defense attorney Steve Greenberg said after a brief status hearing that prosecutors told him they will copy the video and turn it over to him.

The video in question was “discovered” by celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, who says he turned it over the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to be used in a new attempt to prosecute Kelly on longstanding allegations that he has sexually abused women and girls over two decades. 

Steve Greenberg, defense attorney for singer R. Kelly, arrives at courthouse for a hearing on May 7, 2019 in Chicago. (Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/ Getty Images)

Part of Greenberg’s defense strategy appears to be focused on challenging the credibility of videotapes in the case, dating to the late 1990s, that Avenatti says show Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Greenberg also is pressing prosecutors to turn over any communications they had with Avenatti before he gave them the video earlier this year. Greenberg says he considers the combative Avenatti a witness in the Kelly case, and not an attorney, in explaining why he thinks he’s entitled to the communications.

Avenatti represents two Kelly accusers but faces unrelated federal charges of embezzlement and extortion in two states. 

Kelly was charged in February with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women, including three who were underage at the time the alleged abuse occurred.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer best known for representing Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with President Trump, says he has uncovered a new sex tape featuring R. Kelly with a different underage girl. (Photo: Getty Images/AP)

Avenatti, who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against President Donald Trump, was charged and later indicted in April on multiple federal charges of embezzling millions from his clients to pay for personal expenses, defrauding a bank and scheming to extort up to $25 million from shoemaker Nike.

Avenatti denied the charges and pleaded not guilty on the embezzlement charges in California on April 29. 

Because of Avenatti’s close ties to the Kelly case, Greenberg seized on his legal woes, filing a motion asking a judge to order that all messages between Avenatti and the prosecutors handling the case be preserved as possible evidence of inappropriate coordination and communication leading up to the charges.

Cook County Judge Lawrence Flood has not ruled on the motion.

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