R. Kelly’s attorney wants to see communications between Avenatti, Foxx
R. Kelly’s legal team is asking a judge to preserve any communications between attorney Michael Avenatti and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in a legal filing that manages to combine three of the biggest crime stories in America.
The motion Monday from Steven Greenberg, R. Kelly’s attorney, focuses on the federal extortion and fraud charges against Avenatti as well as Foxx’s role in the recent decision to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett.
Greenberg says the extortion case against Avenatti shows his communications are “highly suspect,” and he argues that the Smollett case shows that Foxx is “able to be influenced.”
“Here, there are serious questions whether these attorneys influenced their clients, and the narrative. There are serious questions whether Kim Foxx was bullied or just simply manipulated by Avenatti and others,” Greenberg writes. “The communications are key to uncovering the answers.”
R. Kelly was not in court in Chicago Monday morning for a hearing on the motion because he wasn’t feeling well, according to Greenberg. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, charges that relate to four different women.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Flood declined to rule Monday, saying he hadn’t had a chance to fully review the motion and that the state also needed time to respond.
Kelly remains out on bond. Flood said Kelly must be in court for each scheduled date moving forward. The singer’s next court hearing is set for May 7.
A legal focus on Avenatti
Avenatti, who represented a man he called a whistleblower against Kelly, said in February that he handed a tape showing Kelly having sex with a girl to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
But Greenberg called Avenatti’s actions improper, saying he’s not licensed to practice in Illinois.
“From the limited discovery I’ve seen so far, it’s clear that Mr. Avenatti was representing people in legal proceedings, although he’s not an authorized lawyer in Illinois,” Greenberg said in court.
“I think it’s important because at least one of those persons went on TV and said that they had called this hotline or whatever number the state’s attorney had,” Greenberg added. “I think it’s important that we made sure that we know exactly how Person A got to Person B got to Person C.”
In a news briefing following the hearing, Greenberg criticized Avenatti’s actions and their impact on Kelly’s case.
“What happened in this case was a result of his pressure. … a rush to judgment, a rush to prosecute because of pressure,” he said.
In response, Avenatti said on Twitter that Greenberg was “trying to distract attention away from the clear guilt of his client by raising bogus arguments about me and Kim Foxx. The evidence is the evidence.”
The motion to preserve the communications focuses on Avenatti but also includes all messages between attorneys, witnesses, potential witnesses, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and others.