Avenatti: R. Kelly ‘Threatened Witnesses with Physical Violence and Death’ to Get Acquitted in 2008 Child Porn Case

Singer R. Kelly is facing allegations that he engaged in sexual activity with an underage girl, as attorney Michael Avenatti turned over a recording of the alleged act to authorities. This comes nearly 11 years after Kelly was acquitted in a child pornography case—also based on allegations of a sex tape with a young girl—and now Avenatti says he knows how the singer was able to avoid a conviction.

“We have now uncovered how R Kelly was able to gain his acquittal in 2008: We have discovered substantial evidence that he and certain enablers engaged in systematic witness intimidation, evidence tampering, physical threats, and payments to witnesses,” Avenatti said in a tweet Sunday evening. “They rigged the trial.”

Law&Crime reached out to Avenatti for details regarding this claim.

“He, with certain of his handlers, threatened witnesses with physical violence and death, secreted witnesses by having them leave the area, tampered with and destroyed evidence, and bribed witnesses,” Avenatti said in an email. “This was all done as part of his effort to obstruct justice.”

Sunday evening, TMZ reported that a grand jury was convened to investigate allegations against Kelly stemming from the tape of him and a 14-year-old girl that Avenatti provided to authorities in Cook County, Illinois. Kelly’s lawyer, however, claims no such thing has happened.

“I am unaware of any ‘special’ grand jury being convened to look into R. Kelly,” Kelly’s lawyer Steven Greenberg told the gossip site after their initial report. “There is no record of any such proceedings, and no need for them. The report is false.”

TMZ had reported that, based on information from “[s]ources connected with the Cook County State Attorney’s investigation,” multiple alleged victims of R. Kelly were flown to Chicago to watch the tape.

[Image via Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images]

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