R Kelly denies abuse charges in interview

Singer R Kelly (R)denies the sexual abuse charges against him and said he was fighting for his life.
Singer R Kelly (R)denies the sexual abuse charges against him and said he was fighting for his life.

Grammy-winning R&B singer R Kelly has denied sexual abuse charges against him and broke into tears while saying he was fighting for his life.

Kelly, 52, pleaded not guilty in February to charges that he sexually assaulted three teenage girls and a woman in alleged incidents dating back to 1998, weeks after a Lifetime television documentary levelled new accusations against him.

In his first interview since the indictment, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King asked Kelly about allegations that he had sex with women under 18 and that he was physically and verbally abusive.

"Not true," the I Believe I Can Fly singer responded in a clip of the interview played on the CBS Evening News.

King, who spoke to Kelly in Chicago, his hometown, then asked if he had held anyone against his will.

"I don't need to. Why would I?" he said.

The singer grew angry and emotional as the interview went on, turning to make his argument directly to the camera. "That's stupid. Use your common sense," he said.

"Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me," Kelly added.

"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."

Pounding his chest for emphasis, Kelly shouted, "I didn't do this stuff!" His voice cracked and he broke into tears.

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, could face up to seven years in prison for each of the 10 counts if convicted.

Australian Associated Press