Ever since R. Kelly went to trial on child pornography charges in 2008 for allegedly sexually abusing an underage girl on video, there’s been talk that he has a VHS collection that shows him doing the same to other young girls.
TMZ now reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois is looking to see if those tapes really exist, and they’ve been interviewing Kelly’s associates.
The feds are also building other cases against the singer, which are separate from the 10 counts of sexual abuse he was hit with in February for allegedly assaulting four women.
One of those cases comes out of Illinois, where Kelly is being investigated for sex trafficking, tax evasion and obstruction of justice. The obstruction stems from Kelly being accused of having people from his inner circle pressure witnesses to keep them from speaking out publicly or testifying in court.
Investigators are also trying to determine if those same people were offered payoffs to keep quiet. The other case being built against the singer comes out of New York’s Southern District.
The news of the feds’ investigation comes amid the Lifetime channel airing a follow-up to “Surviving R. Kelly,” the docuseries that was released earlier this year that showed the singer’s alleged victims.
Part two, called “Surviving R. Kelly: The Impact” and hosted by Soledad O’Brien, aired on Saturday, May 4, and one of the things it revealed was that phone calls to sexual assault hotlines went up by 35 percent after the first “Surviving R. Kelly” doc aired. But streaming numbers for his music doubled around that same time as well.
Kelly is currently out on $1 million bond for the criminal sexual abuse charges, and he’s maintained his innocence.
Meanwhile, his lawyer Steven Greenberg said all of his victims are lying, and the feds investigating to see if other VHS tapes exist don’t actually prove guilt.
“The purpose of this, as with all investigations, is to see if there was or was not wrongdoing. It certainly does not mean there was.”