R. Kelly, who was arrested yesterday on 21 child-pornography counts over the notorious sex video, has long denied that he was the man on the tape, but now his lawyer may be singing a different tune. Chicago authorities say that the girl on the tape is the daughter of a Kelly associate, born in September 1984 and therefore a minor, but Kelly’s attorney, Ed Genson, stated yesterday that the girl on the tape is someone else who was not a minor, saying, ”The charge is that there’s a young lady under the age of 18 on the tape, and there isn’t. We’re going to court, and we’ll disprove that she was underage.” In other words, he no longer says that the tape is a forgery or denies that the man on the tape is Kelly. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Genson says that, if the tape depicts a woman who was of age, no crime was committed, so it doesn’t matter whether the man in the tape is Kelly or not.
Genson is still angry with the Chicago police, telling the paper they ”double-crossed” him by issuing a nationwide warrant for Kelly’s arrest and letting Florida police handcuff the singer on Wednesday in front of his Winter Haven home and take him into custody; Genson claims he had made a deal that would have allowed Kelly to fly home to Chicago on Thursday and turn himself in. But a Chicago police spokesman said at a press conference before Kelly’s arrest yesterday that the R&B star would not receive special celebrity handling. ”We’re not going to treat R. Kelly any different than anybody else,” he said.
It’s not clear when Kelly will be transferred from Florida to Illinois, where the Class 1 felony charge could cost him $100,000 in fines and 15 years behind bars. It’s also not clear why Kelly was charged for making and distributing child porn but not for having sex with a minor. At yesterday’s press conference, when asked why statutory rape charges weren’t filed against Kelly, Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine said, ”We brought the charges we thought appropriate at this stage.”