As backlash against R. Kelly continues to grow, his lawyer has officially issued a denial of all accusations on his behalf.
Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary has brought on a new wave of condemnation for Kelly, an artist who has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct throughout his career. But even as artists and activists call for justice in the wake of Kelly’s alleged crimes, the “Bump ‘n Grind” singer has maintained his innocence, most recently via his attorney, Steve Greenberg, who told the Associated Press on Friday that the many allegations against Kelly are unfounded.
“The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone,” Greenberg said.
Kelly was accused of filming a sex tape with an underage girl in 2002 but was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. Since then, however, others have claimed that Kelly routinely preys on young girls.
Greenberg addressed those accusations, commenting, “Look, to the best of Mr. Kelly’s knowledge, he has not had a relationship with an underage girl.”
“I know he was once married to someone who it turns out was underaged. She lied about her age,” Greenberg said, apparently referencing Kelly’s short-lived marriage to the late singer Aaliyah. The two married when Aaliyah was only 15 years old — the marriage certificate falsely listed her age as 18 — but the union was quickly annulled.
The troubling relationship was a topic of discussion during Lifetime’s Kelly documentary, with one of Kelly's former backup dancers claiming that she witnessed Kelly having sex with Aaliyah when she was still only 15 (claims which Aaliyah’s mother has denied).
Greenberg went on to say that Kelly has never “knowingly” had a relationship with any underage girls.
“If he’s in the course of being on the road, met a groupie and she lied about her age, she certainly always appeared to be an adult,” he said. “He never knowingly has been with a minor. I can tell you that that is absolutely a false accusation.”
Numerous women have come forward detailing alleged relationships with Kelly that began when they were teens. Jerhonda Pace claimed that she entered into a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was 16 years old and that another woman “trained” her on how best to please him sexually. Another woman, Faith Rodgers, said that she began having a relationship with Kelly when she was 19 but claims that the singer did not ask about her age until they had already had sex. She accused Kelly of pursuing teenage girls on a regular basis and luring them into sex.
But Greenberg seemed to suggest that Kelly’s accusers — of which there are many — may have targeted his client in the pursuit of fame.
“I know that Mr. Kelly is a talented artist, that there are women who will come on to him, for lack of a better term, to forward their careers,” Greenberg told the Associated Press. “That’s not anything new in the music industry. It’s not anything new in Hollywood. It’s been going on for a million years, and then when their careers don’t get advanced, they get disgruntled.”
He went on to suggest that Kelly’s private relationships should not be up for public debate.
“You know, the problem here is, we’re not the relationship police, so we shouldn’t be questioning how someone’s relationship exists, and how people enter into relationships,” he said. “The fact is, anyone who is in a relationship, and I don’t know if these women were or were not, but anyone who’s been in a relationship with Mr. Kelly, they haven’t complained during the relationship and, to the best of my knowledge, when they got out of the relationship, they didn’t complain.”
“Now some producer went running around, solicited all of these people, did a Jerry Springer-esque show, and there’s all this uproar,” he continued. “It’s disgusting.”
The documentary in question may just result in some very real consequences for Kelly. Authorities in Georgia have reportedly launched a criminal investigation into Kelly, while prosecutors in Chicago seem ready to follow suit — as will authorities in Florida, if they heed the pleas of Angelo Clary, a man who has repeatedly claimed that his daughter has been brainwashed by Kelly and remains trapped in his alleged cult.
Kelly has reportedly been suffering from panic attacks since the documentary’s premiere, but Greenberg told the Associated Press that Kelly is in “good spirits.”
“He’s out and about. People have seen him,” he said. “He’s not gonna hide. The allegations are false, so why should he?”
Greenberg also defended Kelly during an interview Friday with “Good Morning America,” where he spoke plainly on the allegations.
“There are no underage victims. There are no sexual assault victims. There are no victims of domestic violence that they’re going to find. It just didn’t ever happen,” he said.
He seemed to addressed the persistent claims that Kelly has been operating a “sex cult,” telling ABC News, “The man was not operating a harem or a sex cult or holding people hostage or anything like that.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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