CHICAGO (AP) – In his first interview since being charged with sexual abuse, R&B star R. Kelly cried and ranted about being “assassinated,” calling his accusers liars and alleging that people are after him for his money.
Kelly told Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” that he never sexually abused women or controlled their lives. The 52-year-old singer was charged last month in Chicago with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls.
“All of them are lying,” Kelly said in segments of the interview broadcast Wednesday. “I have been assassinated.”
At one point during the interview, Kelly angrily stood up and started pacing, his voice breaking as he yelled: “I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me!”
He cried as he hit his hands together. “I’m fighting for my (expletive) life,” he said.
Kelly, who is out on bail following his Feb. 22 arrest in Chicago, said earlier in the interview that he had done “lots of things wrong” in relationships with women, but said he has apologized. He denied doing anything against their will. The songwriter said he believes social media is to blame for fueling the allegations.
“I have been buried alive, but I’m alive,” he said, later adding that he needed someone to help him “not have a big heart.”
When pressed about whether he was attracted to younger women, the 52-year-old Kelly said: “I’m an older man who loves all women.” He acknowledged being in a relationship with two young women who live with him.
The recording artist has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. Kelly has consistently denied any sexual misconduct and was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. Those charges centered on a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13.
As part of his current case, Kelly is forbidden from having any contact with females younger than 18. He has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.
Interviews with the two women who live with Kelly will air Friday, including one young woman whose parents say she is being held against her will. Kelly suggested during the interview that the woman’s parents were in it for the money and blamed them for his relationship with their daughter, saying they brought her to watch him perform when she was a teenager.
A lawyer for the couple bristled at the allegation, saying Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage never asked for or received money from Kelly. The couple said they have not spoken to their 23-year-old daughter for two years and asked Kelly to make her available to talk to them.
“At no point did this family sell their daughter to anyone or provide their daughter for anything for money,” attorney Gerald Griggs said Wednesday during a news conference.
CBS said it interviewed Kelly for 80 minutes. More of the interview is expected to air Thursday.
In an excerpt that aired Tuesday night, Kelly told King that allegations of him having sex with and abusing underage girls were “not true.” He called them “rumors.” When King asked Kelly if he has held women against their will, he replied, “That’s stupid!”
“Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me,” Kelly said. “How stupid would it be for me, with my crazy past and what I’ve been through – oh right now I just think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don’t let them eat, and don’t let them out.”
King told Kelly that he seemed to be “playing the victim card.”
“I’m just telling the truth,” he replied. He said he was emotional “because this is the first time I was able to say something.”
Kelly noted his acquittal in the child porn case and accused prosecutors of trying the same case again.
“When you beat something, you beat it. You can’t double jeopardy me like that. It’s not fair,” he said.
Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for two Kelly accusers, responded to Kelly’s double jeopardy comment Tuesday on Twitter.
“He fails to understand that it doesn’t matter ‘how long ago’ it happened. And he also has no clue as to how ‘double jeopardy’ works,” the attorney tweeted.
In a follow-up tweet, Avenatti addressed the emotion that Kelly shows in the interview: “R. Kelly’s tears are out of fear and despair. Because he knows that after over two decades of sexually abusing underage girls, we blew this wide open and have him and his enablers dead to rights.”