Tuesday 16 July 2019. Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has accused R Kelly of “buying” his acquittal back in 2008, on the previous occasion the musician faced a criminal prosecution over allegations of sexual abuse. Avenatti made the claim as he announced that he was now representing three alleged victims of Kelly, as well as three parents of victims and three whistleblowers.
Kelly, of course, is back in jail after facing another set of charges last week, this time linked to allegations of sex trafficking, images of child abuse and obstruction of justice. The criminal charges have been mounting up against the star ever since the airing of a documentary at the start of the year which put the spotlight back on the numerous allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against Kelly over the years.
A scheduled case hearing to discuss the new charges was postponed yesterday, though both Kelly and prosecutors are expected back in court later today. Kelly continues to deny all the allegations made against him, but prosecutors are pushing for the musician to be denied bail this time, arguing that he is both dangerous and a flight risk.
Avenatti – best known for representing Stormy Daniels in her legal battles with Donald Trump, and more recently for his own run ins with the law – made a number of allegations against Kelly at a press conference in Chicago yesterday.
The biggest was that the star paid $2 million to keep the alleged victim in the 2008 criminal case off the witness stand. Prior to this year, that was the only other time allegations against Kelly resulted in criminal charges. When the case got to court, his alleged victim refused to testify and the musician was acquitted.
“R Kelly bought his acquittal”, Avenatti said, before describing what he called a years long effort on the musician’s part to prevent the women he has sexually abused from speaking out. Those efforts, Avenatti said, also included paying an associate $100,000 to hunt down videos that had gone missing and which featured Kelly sexually abusing minors.
A number of lawyers representing alleged victims of Kelly have now spoken about the criminal case that is being built against him. Although another attorney speaking to the media yesterday represents the two women who continue to deny they are being abused by the musician, despite allegations he is basically keeping them as sex slaves.
According to TMZ, lawyer Gloria Schmidt has said that Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary will be in court to support Kelly later today and will likely hold a news conference after the hearing to respond to whatever the judge decides regarding bail.