R. Kelly gave an emotional and explosive talk, defending his innocence in his first interview since being charged with sexual abuse.
Singer R. Kelly’s addressed his financial struggles in the second part of his interview with “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King, which aired Thursday.
Kelly is currently back behind bars following a Wednesday child support hearing, at which he was charged with failure to pay $161,000 in back child support. Failure to pay child support in any amount over $20,000 is a felony under Illinois law.
Kelly’s Chicago publicist, Darryll Johnson, told USA TODAY Thursday that while Kelly waits in jail, his team is trying to get together the full amount he owes to hand over to his ex-wife as soon as possible. Johnson confirmed the judge told Kelly at the child-support hearing Wednesday that he would stay in jail until he pays it all.
In his interview with King, Kelly pointed the finger at his former spouse, Andrea Kelly, with whom he shares three children. Andrea Kelly alleged she was abused by the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer in the bombshell documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired on Lifetime in January. Kelly denied his ex’s charge on “CBS This Morning.”
“How can I pay child support? How, if my ex-wife is destroying my name and I can’t work?” Kelly wondered screaming and crying. “How can I work? How can I get paid? How can I take care of my kids? How?”
Andrea, who was married to Kelly for 13 years, claims Kelly stopped paying child support in June 2018 when she first spoke out against him.
Kelly claimed to King that “So many people (connected to my bank account) have been stealin’ my money.” He said about three weeks before the sit-down he ventured to a Bank of America by himself for the first time seeking answers.
“Didn’t know what I was doing. Didn’t know what the hell was going on…” he said, adding he was “so tired of not knowing” the whereabouts of his money.
Kelly said he was informed he had about $350,000 in the bank, which he told the teller to move into a new account.
Kelly said of his lack of awareness about his finances, “A lot of it’s on me.” But the notion that he lacked funds due to settlements he wrote off as a “Lie.”
Johnson told reporters that Kelly did not foresee being arrested Wednesday. “He didn’t come here to go to jail,” Johnson said.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sam Randall told USA TODAY Wednesday Kelly was taken into custody in the courtroom and would stay in the county jail until he paid what he owes. Kelly’s next court date in the matter was set for March 13.
Thursday’s “CBS This Morning” also included King’s discussion with Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary, two women who are romantically linked with Kelly, whose parents accuse Kelly of keeping them as “sex slaves” and brainwashing them.
Savage and Clary told King that they were both “in a relationship” together with Kelly, that they loved him and that they were not being held against their will.
Clary and Savage also echoed some of the more shocking claims Kelly made Wednesday, mainly that the Savage and Clary families “sold” their daughters to Kelly, encouraged them to become sexually involved with him when they were underage, and are now retaliating because Kelly allegedly stopped paying them money.
Both the Savage and Clary families have adamantly denied their daughters’ claims. Michael Avenatti, the Los Angeles lawyer who represents Angelo and Alice Clary, tweeted their statement on Thursday, alleging their daughter has been mentally damaged by “years of abuse and manipulation” by Kelly.
“Sadly, like so many girls before them, Azriel (Clary) and Joycelyn Savage have been manipulated and convinced by Kelly to lie to protect him from serious criminal charges,” Avenatii tweeted. “(Their claims) are absolute lies fabricated by R. Kelly and we have evidence to show that these claims are bogus.”
Gerald Griggs, the Atlanta attorney for Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage, also issued a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday denying what their daughter alleged.
“We have unequivocally denied allegations that the Savage family received money from Robert Kelly,” Griggs said. “At no point was money given to the Savage family, discussed with the Savage family, requested by the Savage family or offered to the Savage family.”
Kelly spent three nights in jail on the sex-crimes charges after he turned himself in on Feb. 22. He was released on Feb. 25, after a 47-year-old friend from the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, Illinois, posted his $100,000 bail, which accounts for 10 percent of the $1 million dollar bond.
Kelly has said he is too broke to pay his taxes. His Chicago defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, said at a hearing after Kelly’s February arrest that his client’s recording contract had been canceled and his finances were “a mess.”
In addition, the Detroit Police Department is investigating allegations Kelly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in 2001. Police Chief James Craig issued a statement late Wednesday to the Detroit Free Press, a part of the USA TODAY Network, saying that the department is trying to follow up with the alleged victim.
Contributing: Leora Arnowitz, Maeve McDermott and Maria Puente of USA TODAY, Tresa Baldas, Brian McCollum and Ann Zaniewski of the Detroit Free Press and The Associated Press
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