Federal investigators are reportedly searching for new sex tapes of R. Kelly with underage girls as the case against the embattled singer continues to progress.
Kelly is already facing a slew of charges for sexual abuse, and the new report from TMZ claims that federal authorities may be searching for more evidence against him. The report claimed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois had already interviewed people close to the singer about the possible existence of more hard evidence that he sexually assaulted underage girls.
As the report noted, there had been rumors of a “stash” of sex tapes of R. Kelly that were circulating since his 2008 trial on child porn charges, which ended with Kelly being acquitted.
Kelly is facing 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse for acts with four alleged victims, including some who were underage. The case was picked up after the release of Surviving R. Kelly, a documentary that spoke to alleged victims and highlighted the many allegations of sexual abuse dating back decades.
Kelly has faced other civil actions since then, including a recent judgment against the singer from woman who claimed that he sexually abused her when she was 16. The court issued a summary judgment in favor of the accuser when R. Kelly failed to show up in court, though TMZ reported that the singer responded by claiming he did not understand the legal papers sent to him because he is unable to read.
After the ruling against Kelly, his lawyers Zaid Abdallah and Raed Shalabi appealed to the court to say that Kelly is essentially illiterate and did not understand the court proceedings.
“[Kelly] suffers from a learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read. In essence he cannot,” the legal documents said.
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There could be other, non-court-related trouble ahead for R. Kelly. Producers of the series Surviving R. Kelly have announced that they have another installation planned, one that will show the aftermath of the original series and the consequences both for Kelly and for the entertainment industry as a whole. The documentary brought new attention to the decades-old allegations against the singer and prompted other victims to come forward and share their stories, including allegations that he held woman in near-slavery conditions.
R. Kelly has been released from jail on $1 million bail. He has declared his innocence, with his lawyer calling the accusers liars. Kelly has vowed to fight the charges in court.