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In emotional interview, R. Kelly says ‘I have been buried alive, but I’m alive’

In his first interview since being charged with having sex with underage girls, R. Kelly is saying the accusations are lies. | CBS News

Less than two weeks after he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, R. Kelly appeared in an intense, emotional interview on “CBS This Morning,” where he dismissed the allegations against him as nothing more than lies.

“Absolutely they’re lying on me,” Kelly told Gayle King. “I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive, but I’m alive.”

“I didn’t do this stuff,” he said through tears as his voice rose in pitch and volume. “This is not me. I’m fighting for my f—— life.”

Pacing back and forth, screaming and pumping his fists, Kelly yelled: “Y’all killing me with this s—.”

King asked Kelly outright if he’s ever had sex with anyone under 17 years old, to which he replied, “No.”

Kelly said that the allegations of sexual impropriety with underage girls — which have dogged him for more than 20 years — are also hindering his ability to have a relationship with his children.

The renewed scrutiny on Kelly was driven in large part by the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly.” The R&B star said the ubiquity of social media has only fanned those flames.

“I’m just telling the truth,” he told King. “This is the first time I was able to say something.”

Kelly went on to say that the parents of two women who he is dating and living with — Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary — essentially sold their daughters to him. The parents of both women have said that Kelly “brainwashed” the two into staying with him.

RELATED: R. Kelly: It’s ‘not fair’ to charge me with sex crimes again

“What kind of father, what kind of mother, would sell they daughter to a man?” Kelly asked. “How come it was OK for me to see them until they wasn’t getting no money from it?”

King also interviewed Savage and Clary. The full interview, King said, is set to air Friday at 7 p.m. But in a clip shown Wednesday morning, Clary said: “You guys don’t know the truth. You guys believe in some f—— façade that our parents are saying. This is all f—— lies for money.”

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents the parents of Clary, issued a statement on their behalf, saying:

“We have never received a penny from R. Kelly. We have never asked R. Kelly for money. And we never ‘sold’ our daughter to him or anyone else. R. Kelly is a desperate liar and serial abuser of young girls who should die in prison. All of the victims and parents cannot be lying.”

Before the interview aired, King told Chicago’s local CBS station that it was clear that Kelly “is in a lot of pain.”

The interview took place Tuesday in Chicago and lasted 80 minutes, according to CBS.

As Kelly grew more emotional, the interview had to be stopped so he could regain his composure with the help of a publicist.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told the Sun-Times last week that he and his client had discussed hiring a publicist to help manage the tidal wave of media attention on the case.

Mirroring a recent interview by “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, Kelly opted to speak to a national media outlet rather than one based in Chicago.

Avenatti, who says he represents one of the victims included in the indictment, said Kelly was right to cry.

“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,” he tweeted.


Read the Chicago Sun-Times coverage of the R. Kelly investigation

R. Kelly surrenders; charged with sexually abusing 4 — at least 3 of them minors

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