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'This is not me!': R. Kelly denies having sex with underage girls in first interview since criminal charges

Embattled R&B singer R. Kelly denied having sex with underage girls and holding women against their will in his first TV interview since being charged with sexual abuse last month.

“I didn’t do this stuff! This is not me! I’m fighting for my (expletive) life!” Kelly told Gayle King Tuesday in Chicago.

The interview is scheduled to air on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday and Thursday. King also chats with Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage in an interview set to air Friday morning. The women’s parents have alleged that Kelly is holding them against their will.

The 52-year-old singer, who is out on bail, pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse last month. Each of the Class 2 felony counts carries a maximum of seven years in prison upon conviction but also could result in probation.

The charges came weeks after the Lifetime network aired a six-part docuseries that traced the singer’s 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.” The series was inspired by years of reporting by Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis.

A Cook County jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges in 2008.

“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.

“Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but just use your common sense. 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, unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle!”

“CBS This Morning” airs at 7 a.m. weekdays.

tswartz@tribpub.com

Twitter @tracyswartz

MORE COVERAGE:

R. Kelly walks out of Cook County Jail after posting $100,000 bail, pleading not guilty to charges »

R. Kelly's musical legacy: Era-defining success brought down by scandal »

R. Kelly sex abuse charges signal to victims 'that their voices can be heard,' advocates say »

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