News of the discovery and investigation of additional tapes in the R. Kelly child pornography case was given to the press in order to prejudice the jury pool in the singer's upcoming criminal trial, R. Kelly's camp said.
"They don't want to try the case in the courts, but by leaks to the press," said Kelly's spokesperson, who asked not to be named.
The latest tapes, which allegedly depict Kelly involved in sexual activity, possibly with minors, were given to Chicago police by authorities in Orange County, Florida, who recovered them from a rented RV the week after Kelly's arrest (see "Four More Alleged R. Kelly Sex Tapes Found"). Two search warrants were executed by police in Polk County, Florida, on Kelly's rented home in Davenport (which is in their jurisdiction, not Orange County's), though Polk County authorities would not comment on what they found, if anything.
"If they weren't taken from his house, that raises questions of authenticity," the spokesperson said.
Arguing that because the prosecution and defense are in the pre-trial procedure of discovery right now where the prosecution makes information and evidence to be used against the defendant available Kelly's spokesperson said word of the tapes, if they were to be used against him, should have come out sooner, and therefore the tapes have no bearing on the current charges.
"Nothing has been said about these tapes, so clearly they are not part of the case," the spokesperson said.
Kelly pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of child pornography on May 26 (see "R. Kelly Pleads Not Guilty To Child Pornography Charges"). His current charges stem from one tape in particular that allegedly depicts the singer having sex with a 14-year-old. (Click for a full explanation of the charges against R. Kelly.)
The identities and ages of the people on the latest tapes has not been determined. Chicago police are currently reviewing the tapes to determine if they depict any criminal activity.
The singer's spokesperson said that Chicago authorities are worried their case isn't strong enough against Kelly, so the prosecution has engaged in a smear campaign.
"It's another example of how they claim they won't treat him differently because he's a celebrity, but because he's a celebrity, they treat him much worse," the spokesperson said.
Kelly's next scheduled court date is August 7.
For a feature interview with R. Kelly discussing the charges against him, see "R. Kelly: In His Own Words."
For full coverage of the R. Kelly sex tape scandal, see The R. Kelly Reports.