R. Kelly faces police probe over underage sex video. Plus, news about TLC, Brad Renfro, Alicia Keys, Tom Green, Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Steven Weber, and others
R. Kelly
Credit: R. Kelly: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

LEGAL BRIEFS Even as R. Kelly was performing his latest sports-and-spirituality anthem, ”The World’s Greatest,” at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday, he was facing an investigation by Chicago police over a videotape that allegedly depicts him having sex with an underage girl. The 27-minute tape, submitted anonymously to the Chicago Sun-Times last week, is said to show Kelly engaging in sex acts three years ago with a 14-year-old girl. Under Illinois law, it’s illegal for men to have sex with girls younger than 17, and it’s a felony to videotape anyone under 18 having sex.

This is only the latest underage sex scandal for the 33-year-old Grammy-winning singer, whose alleged relationships with teenage girls have led to at least two lawsuits against him, one settled out of court and another still pending. Of course, most notoriously, he married the late Aaliyah (whose ”Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” debut album he produced) in 1994 when she was 15, falsely listing her age as 18 on their marriage certificate. Once her parents found out, the marriage was annulled within months, and both parties refused to discuss it.

The Sun-Times chronicled Kelly’s liaisons with minors in a 2000 exposé, leading to the anonymous submission of the tape to the paper last week. The girl’s aunt has identified her niece, now 17, as the girl depicted on the tape, but Kelly’s lawyer, John M. Touhy, says the tape is a fake whose release to the press and police has been suspiciously timed. ”Kelly is at the top of his career,” Touhy told the Sun-Times. ”He has a hit song out right now, he performed at the NFC title game and he’s performing at the Olympics. In light of those events, I believe you have to have serious questions in your mind about the motives of people who sent you that forged tape.”…

Things may get unpretty in court for TLC. Former Living Colour singer Corey Glover and his songwriting partner Michael Cirincione are suing the trio for copyright infringement over ”Unpretty,” the 1999 hit, which the plaintiffs claim lifts substantial portions of their song ”Make Your Mind Up.” Glover and Cirincione say they submitted the song to the band a year before but were told by TLC’s label, LaFace Records, that it would not be used — only to hear it absorbed into ”Unpretty,” for which TLC’s T-Boz and producer Dallas Austin were given songwriting credits. Also named as defendants in the suit are Austin, LaFace, Arista Records, BMG Music, and EMI Music Publishing….

After spending a week in a Florida jail for violating his probation, Brad Renfro has been sentenced to 90 days in alcohol rehab. The 19-year-old ”Ghost World” actor had been nabbed two years ago for attempting to joyride in a yacht that he forgot to untie from a Fort Lauderdale dock. He was fined and sentenced to two years probation, but he was arrested for drunk driving last month in his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn. He turned himself in to Broward County authorities last week for that probation violation, and he was promptly jailed while prosecutors decided whether to sentence the young actor (who has been arrested before for cocaine and marijuana possession) to three months in rehab or nine months behind bars. On Thursday, they chose the former, but if Renfro doesn’t stay clean, he still faces the latter….

What’s Oscar hiding behind that sword? We may never know, now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is settling a lawsuit against a company that was selling Oscar-like ”Stud of the Year” statuettes that resembled the real thing, only more anatomically correct than the emasculated trophies handed out at the Academy Awards ceremony. The Academy sued Pipedream Products for trademark and copyright infringement over the well-endowed statuettes, which were available online for $8 or via catalog for $4. Pipedream agreed to stop selling the tumescent trophies and hand its remaining inventory over to the Academy to be destroyed, but the lawsuit is still pending until the parties reach a monetary settlement as well. Guess MGM isn’t the only movie outfit eager to defend itself against a ”Goldmember” spoof.

3000 Miles to Graceland
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