R. Kelly speaks up to deny sex abuse charges


New York (AFP)

R&B superstar R. Kelly denied allegations he sexually abused women and girls in his first public comments since being indicted last month.

"I didn't do this stuff. This not me," Kelly told "CBS This Morning", saying he was "fighting" for his life in an interview to air Wednesday. Excerpts were released Tuesday.

He dismissed the allegations against him as rumors.

"Whether they're old rumors, new rumors, future rumors, not true," said Kelly, who became upset and emotional during the interview.

Kelly, 52, pleaded not guilty late last month in Chicago to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse.

He spent three nights behind bars and was released after coming up with $100,000, 10 percent of the $1 million bail set in court.

The sex acts are alleged to have occurred between May 1998 and January 2010, according to prosecutors.

Kelly has been accused of sexual misconduct before.

In 2002 he was charged after allegedly filming himself having sex with a 14-year-old girl. He was tried and acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

Now he says his reputation is being used against him.

"People are going back to my past, OK? That's exactly what they're doing. They're going back to the past and they trying to add all of this stuff now to that. To make all this stuff that's going on now feels real to people," Kelly said, according to the CBS transcript of the interview.

He also addressed a report by BuzzFeed in 2017 that said Kelly had kept women as virtual sex slaves at homes he owns in Chicago and Atlanta.

Kelly denied ever holding anyone against their will.

"I don't need to. Why would I? How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I've been through in my way, way past, to hold somebody," he asked.

"That's stupid," Kelly added, looking right into the camera.

The BuzzFeed allegations did not lead to any charges.

In January, a six-part documentary called "Surviving R. Kelly" was released. It alleged he engaged in sexual, mental and physical abuse of girls and women.

- 'A long time coming' -

The new 10-count indictment included three people who were minors aged between 13 and 16 when the alleged abuse occurred.

Kim Foxx -- the state's attorney for Cook County, which includes Chicago -- told journalists the charges carry three to seven years of prison time each.

Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg has said the charges are based on old and false accusations, adding that "all of the women are lying."

Lizzette Martinez -- who detailed allegations against Kelly in the docu-series and is now a client of prominent women's rights lawyer Gloria Allred -- lashed out against Greenberg's comments, calling them "irresponsible."

"I'm a mother and I have a daughter," said the 41-year-old, who claims Kelly abused her between 1995 and 1999.

Kelly is known for marrying his protege Aaliyah in 1994, when the late R&B star was 15.

Kelly, then 27, had produced the teenage singer's debut album titled "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number." Their marriage was later annulled, and Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001.

Despite the slew of disturbing claims against him, the award-winning musician continued to perform for years and maintained a solid fan base.

Last month's release of the "Surviving R. Kelly" series once again brought accusations against him to the fore. A #MuteRKelly movement -- aimed at preventing his music from airing -- has gained steam.

Lisa VanAllen, who spoke out against Kelly in the 2008 criminal trial and again in the recent documentary, wrote in The New York Times that she had feared no vindication would come for "a young, struggling, black girl victim like me."

"It's been a long time coming, but here we are," she wrote. "More than 10 years after I nervously faced Rob in court, I know one thing: This will not end the way it did before. It cannot."