Fulton DA: No investigation into R. Kelly 'cult' claims at this time

Fulton County's district attorney said his office is not currently investigating Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly for allegations the 50-year-old held women against their will in a Johns Creek house. But, the office is in possession of a file it received on Kelly from the city's police department.

Paul Howard, the district attorney, said his office did not request the file, but Johns Creek police gave it to them on Monday, Aug. 7. Howard has assigned the file to his sex trafficking division for review.

“We are not currently investigating Mr. Kelly,” Howard said. “... We will review (the file) and confer with the Johns Creek policemen after our evaluation and proceed appropriately.”

Howard spoke with reporters Friday after John Eaves, Fulton's commission chairman and a candidate for Atlanta mayor, called for an investigation into Kelly during a press conference Friday morning in front of the county government center.

Singer-songwriter R. Kelly performs in concert at Bass Concert Hall on March 3, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

Credit: Rick Kern

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Credit: Rick Kern

The allegations about Kelly stem from a BuzzFeed story in July which alleged the singer "held women against their will in a cult" at a house he was renting in north Fulton County. The story cited several named and unnamed sources who the author says were close to the singer.

Kelly, his attorneys and spokespersons for him have vehemently denied the allegations presented in the BuzzFeed story. After Eaves spoke Friday, Kelly’s spokeswoman, Trevian Kutti, said in a statement to the AJC that the singer was “outraged” at Eaves and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

“The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false and ill-motived,” the statement read. “He again denies any and all wrongdoing.”

Johns Creek police Lt. Chris Byers said Friday “there is no new evidence in the closed investigation.”

When asked why the file was turned over to the DA's office, Byers said: "We gave them everything (we) had. We let them know what was going on due to the high profile nature of the incident and figured they would be getting calls about it."

Howard said he turned the file over to the DA’s sex trafficking division due to the nature of some of the allegations made against Kelly.

“Today there is no investigation,” Howard said. “What we received is some information. Information that (police) might send on any citizen. We will look at it and make an evaluation. The evaluation might be that they need to do some more work.”

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves (KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM)

Credit: Kent Johnson

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Credit: Kent Johnson

Howard added that he didn’t think it was inappropriate for Eaves to speak to the media about Kelly.

Neither Eaves or Howard provided details about what was in the file from Johns Creek police. Howard said he hasn’t personally reviewed the file, and does not have a timetable for a decision on it.

“... Follow every lead,” Eaves said. “No matter where it leads, or who it implicates, and bring those persons to swift justice.”

Parents of one Atlanta woman who is reportedly living with R. Kelly, Jocelyn Savage, held a press conference on July 17 outside of the house Kelly formerly rented just hours after the BuzzFeed story was released. Savage’s father Tim said that his daughter was “being held against her will” and the last time he saw her she was in “a horrible condition.”

Johns Creek police conducted a well-being check on the house in December, but no one was home. During another check in January by police at a home in Chicago, Jocelyn told officers she was fine and did not want to be bothered with her parents,  Buzzfeed reported.

Savage, 22, has since made two videos — released to TMZ — saying she's fine and in a "happy place."

In an interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on Friday, Savage's parents and their attorney, Gerald Griggs, said they are desperate to reach Jocelyn and want a face-to-face meeting with her to determine her health. The family says they haven't spoken to her since December 2016 and that Savage missed her grandfather's funeral.

Kelly is scheduled to play at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater in College Park on Aug. 25. The venue is owned by Fulton County but managed by LiveNation.

Fulton commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter to Live Nation requesting the cancellation of the upcoming concert. Live Nation said the concert will take place as scheduled, but has declined further comment.

Kenyette T. Barnes — an activist at Eaves’ Friday press conference who is part of a “#MuteRKelly” campaign — said she is working with the chairman and having conversations about the concert with LiveNation.

If the concert isn’t cancelled, she and about 1,000 people will be peacefully protesting the show at Wolf Creek, Barnes said.

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Fulton County residents sent emails and made phone calls in favor of cancelling R. Kelly’s concert because of his history of sexual exploitation allegations.