Monday 21 October 2019

R Kelly’s solicitor demands celebrity lawyer’s texts and emails at court hearing

R&B star R Kelly was charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse.

R Kelly was charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse (Matt Marton/AP)
R Kelly was charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse (Matt Marton/AP)

By Don Babwin, Associated Press

R Kelly’s solicitor has repeated his demand that he be given any communications between celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti and prosecutors regarding the R&B star.

Mr Avenatti had pushed his way into the R Kelly case proclaiming that he was representing two of the accusers, but on Tuesday it became clearer that he may be involved in a way he did not anticipate – as a witness.

Kelly’s lawyer said at a court hearing in Chicago that he continued to wait for prosecutors to provide him with a copy of the videotape that Mr Avenatti said he turned over to them that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

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R Kelly, right, and his lawyer Steve Greenberg, centre (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP/Pool)

“Everyone treats him like a lawyer in this case (but) he’s a witness, so treat him like a witness,” Steve Greenberg said after Tuesday’s hearing.

“He says he’s got this tape (so) he’s a chain of custody witness.”

The judge told Mr Greenberg he needed to know specifically what the lawyer wanted from prosecutors, and why the material was important in his defence of Kelly.

He ordered the lawyers to return to court on June 26.

Mr Avenatti, who represented porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against US president Donald Trump, said he did not understand what Mr Greenberg was doing, especially given that texts and emails between him and Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx were made public last month.

He said the only way Mr Greenberg could help Kelly was if he somehow convinced a judge or jury that Mr Avenatti “doctored” the videotape.

Mr Avenatti called that “ludicrous”.

“If Steve Greenberg is hanging his defence of R Kelly on Michael Avenatti, R Kelly better start preparing to spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Mr Avenatti, who faces unrelated charges of embezzlement and extortion in California and New York.

Also at the brief hearing, Mr Greenberg said prosecutors have turned over bank records as well as documents related to two of the singer’s accusers.

He said that among them were documents showing what he called efforts to extort Kelly.

Mr Greenberg later told reporters that he had not reviewed all the documents yet.

Kelly, who was charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse pertaining to three girls and one woman, is due back in family law court on Wednesday in his child support case.

After being arrested on the sex abuse charges and posting bail, Kelly was sent back to jail for failure to pay child support.

He remained in jail for three days until someone paid the more than 160,000 dollars (£122,000) he owed in child support to his ex-wife.

Another hearing involving a civil lawsuit filed by one of the accusers in the criminal case is also scheduled for Wednesday.

PA Media

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