When R. Kelly was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008, jurors reportedly said it was because the 14-year-old girl he was accused of sexually assaulting on video refused to testify. Her family also wouldn’t be a witness for prosecutors, but things are different now.
According to The New York Times, the girl in the video is now working with investigators after the disgraced singer was arrested last week on a slew of federal charges, including sex trafficking, child pornography and obstruction of justice.
It’s not clear to what extent she’s working with investigators, but her attorney, Christopher L. Brown, confirmed that she is indeed cooperating.
The alleged victim on the tape is also the niece of the singer Sparkle, whom Kelly mentored as an artist early in her career. Sparkle talked about her niece working with the feds and said she couldn’t be more thrilled about it.
“I’m beyond pleased to finally hear the mountain I’ve tirelessly worked on moving over the years is now being assisted with the help of my niece and her parents,” she told The New York Times on Tuesday. “Of course I’m in full unwavering support of them and their act of courage.”
In the old video footage, Kelly can be seen engaging in sex acts with the young girl, whom he also urinates on. Several witnesses identified the singer and the girl to authorities afterward, but Kelly was still acquitted of 14 child pornography charges on June 13, 2008.
In the recent federal indictment, he was accused of paying off the girl and her family so they would lie for him and not cooperate with investigators. Sparkle did cooperate at the time and testified against Kelly at trial, a step that reportedly led to her estrangement from her family for years.
And earlier this week, lawyer Michael Avenatti — who gave a tape of Kelly and a young girl to the Cook County State’s Attorney in February — said the singer gave the girl in the tape and her family $2 million to remain silent.
On Tuesday, after Kelly pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, a Chicago judge ordered him to remain behind bars without bond, where he’s being kept away from general population for safety reasons.
The federal charges are separate from the 10 counts of sexual abuse Kelly received in February in Chicago and different from the other 11- sexual misconduct counts he was slapped with in May in that same city.