‘I’M NOT LUCIFER’

Maybe not, but R. Kelly is a deadbeat dad, according to a Chicago judge. The embattled singer is now back in jail for the second time in two weeks.

interview
CBS/LAZARUS JEAN-BAPTISTE/TNS
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King sat down with R&B singer R. Kelly Tuesday in Chicago for his first television interview since he was arrested on 10 sexual abuse charges. The interview aired this week.

COMPILED FROM WIRE REPORTS

CHICAGO ‒ It’s been a bad month or so for Chicago-based musician R. Kelly.

Some two weeks, Kelly put up $100,000 to be released from custody on criminal sexual abuse charges.

On Tuesday, Kelly angrily denied accusations that he has had sex with underage girls and holds women against their will in his first TV interview since being charged with sexual abuse last month. His emotional response immediately went viral online.

On Wednesday, he was taken into custody after failing to comply with a judge’s order that he pay more than $161,000 in back child support.

Denies allegations

Kelly, 52, was indicted last month on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Cook County prosecutors allege he abused four victims, three of them underage girls, over a span of 12 years.

Kelly and his attorney have vehemently denied the accusations. Each of the felony counts carries a maximum of seven years in prison upon conviction, but also could result in probation.

Bond was set at $1 million on the criminal charges, but Kelly was unable to post the necessary $100,000 until after he spent a weekend in custody. Court records indicate a 47-year-old Illinois woman posted his bail, identifying herself on the bond slip as Kelly’s “friend.” Suspected for decades

Accusations of predatory sexual behavior have dogged the singer for years. Cook County prosecutors charged him in 2002 with child pornography, saying he made a sex tape with his teenage goddaughter, but a jury acquitted him in a sensational trial in 2008.

In the latest charges, prosecutors allege Kelly tried to force oral sex on his 24-yearold hairdresser in 2003 ‒ while he was free on bond on the then-pending child pornography charges.

Prosecutors also alleged that Kelly solicited an underage girl outside his 2008 criminal trial and later sexually abused her; that he carried on a yearlong sexual relationship with a girl he had met in 1998 when she was celebrating her 16th birthday; and that he videotaped himself having sex with a young girl at his home in the late 1990s.

‘Y’all killing me’

The first part of the interview, which was taped Tuesday in Chicago, aired Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” More footage was scheduled to air Thursday ‒ after the Florida Courier’s Wednesday night press time ‒ on the morning show.

“I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me! I’m fighting for my (expletive) life!” Kelly told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King.

“Y’all killing me with this (expletive). I gave you all 30 years of my (expletive) career! Thirty years of my career! And y’all trying to kill me. You killing me man. This is not about music. I’m trying to have a relationship with my kids, and I can’t do it. Y’all just don’t want to believe the truth.”

‘My girlfriends’

King also chats with Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage in an emotional interview set to air Friday morning. The women’s parents have alleged that Kelly is holding them against their will. He told King he is in a relationship with them and “it’s like they’re my girlfriends.”

“I will tell you this: 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 of this stuff that’s going on now feels real to people,” Kelly told King.

The charges came weeks after the Lifetime network aired a six-part docuseries that traced the singer’s Chicago South Side roots, his rise to fame with songs such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” and the allegations that he has had sexual relationships with underage girls and runs a so-called “sex cult.”

Victim becomes predator?

The series ‒ which featured interviews with nearly 50 people ‒ was inspired by years of reporting by Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis. Kelly, who said he was sexually abused as a kid, dismissed the women who shared their stories on the Lifetime series as liars.

“If you really look at that documentary, which I’m sure you have, everybody says something bad about me. Nobody said nothing good. They was describing Lucifer. I’m not Lucifer. I’m a man. I make mistakes, but I’m not a devil, and by no means am I a monster,” Kelly said.

He told King: “The problem is that I’m likable, and (the women) can’t be around me ‘cause certain things didn’t work out. And if things don’t work out, Lifetime ‒ these girls were older. They were 20 years ago, 15 years ago. Why now? Why would they come out now?”

Fan and industry backlash

DeRogatis reported in a 2017 BuzzFeed story that some parents told police that Kelly was keeping their daughters against their will. His reporting sparked the #MuteRKelly movement to end the singer’s career and protests that helped lead to the cancellation of a performance Kelly had scheduled last year in Chicago.

Some artists, including Lady Gaga, recently apologized for past musical collaborations with Kelly. He addressed Gaga in particular in his interview with King.

“John Legend. Lady Gaga. The interesting thing about this is the fact that working with Lady Gaga, she’s a very great talent, you know, and it’s unfortunate that her intelligence go to such a short level when it comes to that. You know, I have nothing against none of these artists, but I think it’s not professional for them to do that because something like this can happen to any artist. Anybody famous. Anybody famous can get accused of so many different things,” he said.

King, who said she briefly met Kelly about five years ago, said the interview lasted about 80 minutes. She said she visited Kelly’s home at Trump Tower in Chicago and spoke to him by a Christmas tree he keeps up year-round.

King said she thought she “might get accidentally clobbered, but I never felt in danger talking” to the emotional Kelly.

Back at the courthouse

Kelly, who didn’t say anything audible, pulled off the shades as he walked into Judge Lori Rosen’s courtroom on Wednesday. More than an hour after Kelly entered the closed court hearing, he was led away in handcuffs, accompanied by Cook County sheriff’s deputies.

Judge Rosen last month warned Kelly that he faced jail time unless he paid the child support. During Wednesday’s hearing, Kelly was found in contempt and ordered into custody, according to Cara Smith, chief policy officer at the sheriff’s office.

Kelly must pay $161,663 to be released from jail, she said. His next court date is March 13.

Three children

Records connected to Kelly’s divorce case have been kept secret, but paperwork on the back child support was made public in Kelly’s criminal court file. Kelly and his ex-wife have three children together.

Kelly’s publicist, Darryll Johnson, said the musician showed up with $50,000 or $60,000, but the judge wanted the full amount paid.

Kelly was “happy” when he arrived for the hearing, not thinking he would be jailed, Johnson said. But now he is “depressed, deflated and upset.”

One man heckled Johnson as he spoke to the media.


Megan Crepeau, Rosemary Sobol and Tracy Swartz of the Chicago Tribune / TNS contributed to this report.

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