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R Kelly's lawyer is comparing him to Beethoven and Elon Musk, as more accusers come forward

The embattled R&B artist is working on an album as sexual abuse allegations pile up

by Emma Ockerman
Feb 22 2019, 4:13pm

R Kelly is right up there in the ranks of creative geniuses like Beethoven, Freud, and Elon Musk, so he needs to be able to work during the night like they did, according to his lawyer.

The embattled R&B musician — accused of running a sex cult and assaulting several underage girls, with two new women coming forward Thursday — can no longer enter his Chicago recording studio between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., per a judge’s recent order, because the studio isn’t zoned for residential purposes. He can still enter the first floor of the studio for up to 12 hours a day.

“Thru the years, history has admired creativity,” Steve Greenberg, a lawyer for R. Kelly, said in a statement to the media on Wednesday about the Feb. 8 order. “Beethoven worked and wrote during the night. So did Freud, Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edison, Elon Musk and Churchill, amongst thousands of others.”

The studio being closed for a portion of the day is problematic, Greenberg said, because R. Kelly is currently working on an album. So, the artist will soon be moving studios.

He once had a contractual obligation to RCA Records to release at least two more albums under that Sony-owned label, but he was dropped from his contract in January after outrage over the Lifetime documentary series " Surviving R. Kelly," which outlined decades of alleged sexual and physical abuse and mentioned the Chicago studio as a place where some alleged abuse occurred.

Meanwhile, two new accusers, Rochelle Washington and Latresa Scaff, came forward with allegations of underage sex or inappropriate behavior by Kelly in a news conference Thursday in New York City. The women alleged that after a Baltimore concert in the mid-1990s, when they were teenagers, they were offered marijuana and alcohol and Kelly invited them to a hotel suite. Washington left the room after being propositioned, according to NPR, but Scaff stayed and Kelly had “sexual intercourse with me even though I did not have the capacity to consent.”

Greenberg wrote on Twitter Friday morning that the women were talking about someone else.

“R Kelly has been repeatedly harassed while just trying to do his job in his studio, during the limited hours he is allowed to be there,” Greenberg said in the statement on Wednesday.

Kelly was only entirely closed off from the second floor of his studio, since it was being used as a bedroom and posed fire hazards, according to CNN. And the use of the building was limited to 12 hours a day because it’s zoned for commercial rather than residential use. Still, Kelly “will continue to work on the album,” Greenberg said in his statement. Kelly has also denied all accusations against him.

Additionally, earlier this month, new footage — obtained by celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti and reviewed by CNN — emerged that appeared to show Kelly having sex with an underage girl. An anonymous senior law enforcement official based in Illinois told the New Yorker that Kelly could face indictment over the video. Kelly denied appearing in that video.

“There are three countries in the world where people are presumed guilty: China, North Korea, and Myanmar,” Greenberg said in a statement after the videos were reported. “Unfortunately, that is the standard of justice that is now being applied to R Kelly.”

The video Avenatti obtained has been turned over to the Cook County State Attorney’s office, which asked survivors to come forward and speak to investigators after the documentary series renewed the claims against Kelly.

Cover: R Kelly attends the Z-100 New York Jingle Ball on December 13, 2013 in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Credit: RTNJon Palmer/MediaPunch Inc. /IPX