Continuing their ongoing battle, this time in the legal realm, Jay-Z filed a countersuit against R&B singer R. Kelly in Manhattan Supreme Court Jan. 24.
The duo began their running dispute following a series of incidents during their abridged Best of Both Worlds tour, which ended abruptly after a show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Kelly left the stage mid-performance, alleging that he saw someone waving a gun in his direction. Backstage, Kelly was met with a mist of pepper-spray, allegedly from Jay-Z’s longtime associate Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith, who was later arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.
After being ejected from the tour, Kelly, already facing child-pornography charges, filed a $75 million lawsuit against Jay-Z, his business associates and the tour’s promoter in November.
Jay-Z referred to Kelly’s lawsuit as a "calculated stunt" meant to "deflect attention from his upcoming felony trial involving an alleged sexual liaison with a 14-year-old child." Jay and a promoter were compelled to kick Kelly off the tour, according to Jay, due to the
singer’s failure to show up at scheduled appearances, which finally hit its peak in New York.
Jay described the tour debacle as a "nightmarish odyssey fueled by R.Kelly’s financial woes, insecurities, and unsafe and unpredictable behavior." The rapper-turned-Def Jam Prez also slandered Kelly and hislawsuit in Snoop Dogg’s recent "Drop It Like It’s Hot" remix, rapping "Wasting your time trying to sue S Dot/Tell your lawyer to take the
civil case and drop it like it’s hot."
Kelly’s lawyer, Ed Hayes, remarked that he doesn’t take Jay-Z’s countersuit seriously and that Kelly is "a creative genius," not expected to "act like everybody else."
In related news, on Friday (Jan. 28), Illinois prosecutors in Kelly’s child-pornography case were forced to surrender the original videotape that allegedly shows Kelly sexually interacting with an underage girl.
With the video in possession, Kelly’s camp will get a glimpse of the star in action, allegedly, for the first time. Kelly’s lawyers maintain that their client is not the man shown on the tape.
Chicago prosecutors charged Kelly with 21 counts of child pornography, though seven were dismissed last year during pretrial. Kelly has pleaded innocent on all charges.
A judge also cleared Kelly to travel to Florida this month to perform.