The tape, sold as a bootleg, was notorious: It showed R&B; singer R. Kelly having sex with and urinating on a girl who prosecutors said was barely a teenager.
But although the tape was shown at Kelly’s ensuing child pornography trial in 2008, the girl and her immediate family refused to testify.
In a sign of how Kelly’s fortunes have changed, a lawyer for that girl, now a woman in her 30s, said Tuesday she was cooperating with federal investigators.
The extent of her cooperation was not immediately clear, but the statement from her lawyer, Christopher L. Brown, came just days after Kelly was accused in a federal indictment of paying the girl and her father to stay quiet and in some cases to lie to investigators to protect him.
Kelly is now facing numerous state and federal charges including sexual assault, obstruction of justice, child pornography and racketeering. Prosecutors said he had victimized 12 women, at least eight of whom were underage at the time of the incidents.
On Tuesday, Kelly stood in a federal courtroom in Chicago and pleaded not guilty while his lawyer, Steve Greenberg, argued his client was not a flight risk, noting he had been present for all his previous court dates. But a federal judge ordered him kept in jail without bond, calling the case “extraordinarily serious.”
Angel Krull, a federal prosecutor, said Tuesday that, if convicted, Kelly would face a maximum of 195 years in prison and that investigators had “identified many more girls” beyond the 12 he may have abused.
One of the 12 women was the girl at the center of Kelly’s 2008 trial, but until Tuesday it was not publicly known whether she would cooperate.
According to a federal indictment unsealed last week, Kelly gave the girl and her family gifts and money both before and after the trial so she would lie to investigators or be unavailable for questioning, and so she would not testify against him. Neither the girl nor anyone else in her family was charged.
On Tuesday, when asked about the woman’s reversal about cooperating with the prosecution, Kelly’s lawyer said, “I don’t know anything about it.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.