Chicago police have returned four alleged R. Kelly sex tapes to Orange County, Florida, police, after reviewing the material and deciding it had no bearing on current child pornography charges against the singer.
"We have found no new evidentiary information relevant to our investigation," said Dave Bayless, director of news affairs for the Chicago Police Department. "There was no content relevant to what we're doing up here."
Orange County police said that they recovered the tapes from Giant Recreation World, Inc., a company just outside Orlando that rents RVs which had discovered the tapes in one of its rentals in the week after Kelly's arrest (see "Four More Alleged R. Kelly Sex Tapes Found"). Each of the tapes, according to the rental manager who found them, were copies of the same video, titled "R. Kelly at His Best."
"The people that rented [the motor home] were from a magazine," said rental manager Jerry Lee. "They were talking about a feature they had just done about R. Kelly and Jay-Z. Maybe [the tapes] were for their article, maybe they were for sale. But that's just speculation. All I know was that we found the tapes, and I was curious, so I did view one scene, but then I turned them over to the deputy sheriff, because they showed inappropriate activity."
Orange County authorities said they didn't try to track down the individuals who left the tapes behind, since it would be difficult to charge them with possession. "You can't really put them in anyone's possession," explained Orange County P.D.'s public information officer Jim Solomons. "They can always defend themselves by saying that [the tapes] were put in after [the RV] was dropped off."
Instead, Orange County police handed the tapes over to the Chicago police, in case it had any bearing on their investigation. Chicago P.D. then tried to determine if the tapes which did contain footage of the alleged 14-year-old victim from which Kelly's charges stem (Click for a full explanation of the charges) depicted any other criminal activity and if it fell under their jurisdiction. With the return of the tapes, Orange County police have yet to announce if any further investigation will take place.
"The speed at which Chicago police leaked the initial reports of the tapes and their subsequent announcement that they had no relevance to Robert's charges confirms what we've been saying all along," Kelly's attorney Ed Genson said, "that they're doing everything they can to smear Robert and prejudice the jury pool." (See "R. Kelly's Camp Says New Tapes Part Of Smear Campaign").
Kelly pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of child pornography on June 26 (see "R. Kelly Pleads Not Guilty To Child Pornography Charges"). His 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.