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R. Kelly says ex-wife destroyed his name, others stole money

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In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 booking photo released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is R. Kelly. A Cook County Sheriff's Office official says singer Kelly won't be released from jail until he pays $161,000 in back child support he owes. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari says Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday during a hearing over the child support and that his next hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 13. (Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly angrily blamed his ex-wife for "destroying" his name and claimed other people stole from his bank accounts during new portions of an interview that aired Thursday, a day after the R&B star was jailed for not paying child support.

Kelly, who is charged with sexually abusing three girls and a woman in Chicago years ago, shouted and cried as he spoke with Gayle King of "CBS This Morning." He said his ex-wife was lying when she accused him of domestic abuse, and his voice broke as he asked, "How can I pay child support if my ex-wife is destroying my name and I can't work?"

The 52-year old singer was jailed Wednesday after he said he could not afford to pay $161,000 in back child support. He said he had "zero" relationship with his three children but knows they love him.

The interview, which was recorded earlier this week, marked the first time Kelly has spoken publicly since his arrest last month in the sexual abuse case. In segments that aired Wednesday, he ranted while pleading with viewers to believe that he never had sex with anyone under age 17 and never held anyone against their will.

The interview also marked the first time he addressed allegations in the Lifetime documentary series "Surviving R. Kelly," which aired in January and alleged he held women captive and ran a "sex cult."

Experts said Kelly's appearance was risky and could backfire if it gives prosecutors more information to use against him at trial. That's why most defense attorneys urge clients to keep quiet.

"In my history as a prosecutor, I loved it when a defendant would say things or make comments about his or her defense," said Illinois Appellate Judge Joseph Birkett, who said he did not watch the Kelly interview and was speaking only as a former prosecutor. "I would document every word they said ... (and) I could give you example after example where their statements backfired."

There have been cases in which people who spoke up pointed to evidence that ultimately helped win their freedom, but "historically it's a bad idea," Birkett said.

A recent example of where such an interview might have done more harm than good was in the case against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who was charged with falsely reporting a racist, anti-gay attack against him in Chicago. In charging documents, prosecutors cited statements he made during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" identifying two people in a photo of the surveillance video as his attackers. The two brothers pictured in the photo later told police that Smollett had paid them to stage the attack because he wanted a raise and to further his career, prosecutors say.

In Kelly's case, he and his attorney might have decided they had nothing to lose after the Lifetime series, said Fred Thiagarajah, a prominent Newport Beach, California, attorney and former prosecutor.

"A lot of the public already thinks he's guilty, and there is a very negative image of him, so the only thing he might think he can do is try to change their minds," Thiagarajah said. If the evidence against him is overwhelming, "this kind of interview might be kind of a Hail Mary" to influence a potential jury pool.

But the dangers of such an interview might outweigh any benefits if Kelly locks himself into a particular defense, Thiagarajah said, adding that the star "may not know all the evidence against him."

In the CBS interview, for example, he denied ever having sex with anyone under 17, even though he married the late singer Aaliyah when she was 15. A videotape given to prosecutors in his current case purports to show Kelly having sex with a girl who repeatedly says she's 14. And police in Detroit were looking into a woman's claims that Kelly had sex with her in that city in 2001 when she was 13.

Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, has said his client did not "knowingly" have sex with underage girls. He was not immediately available Thursday to comment on the Detroit allegations.

Thiagarajah said he might allow a client to do such an interview — but only if he were confident the client could keep his emotions in check and "stick to a script."

"If you get someone who is ranting and raving, I would never let that kind of person ever do an interview," he said.

On Wednesday's broadcast, Kelly's emotions swung wildly as he explained he was simply someone with a "big heart" who was betrayed by liars who hoped to cash in.

In a particularly dramatic moment, he angrily stood up and started pacing, his voice breaking as he yelled, "I didn't do this stuff! This is not me!" He cried as he hit his hands together, saying, "I'm fighting for my (expletive) life."

He insisted people were trying to ruin his 30-year career, but then said his fight was "not about music."

"I'm trying to have a relationship with my kids and I can't do it" because of the sexual abuse allegations, he shouted. "You all just don't want to believe it."

Hours later, Kelly went to the child-support hearing "expecting to leave. He didn't come here to go to jail," said his publicist, Darryll Johnson. Johnson said Kelly was prepared to pay as much as $60,000. He said Kelly did not have the whole amount because he has not been able to work.

A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff's Office said Kelly would not be released from jail until he pays the full child support debt. His next hearing was scheduled for next Wednesday.

Kelly spent a weekend in jail after his Feb. 22 arrest in Chicago before someone posted his $100,000 bail. His defense attorney said at the time that Kelly's finances were "a mess."

Interviews with two women who live with Kelly — Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary — also are set to air. Savage's parents insist she is being held against her will. Kelly suggested during the interview that her parents were in it for the money and blamed them for his relationship with their daughter, saying they brought her to watch him perform when she was a teenager.

A lawyer representing the couple bristled at the allegation, saying on Wednesday that Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage never asked for or received money from Kelly. The couple said they have not spoken to their 23-year-old daughter for two years. They spoke later that day.

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Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this story.

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Check out the AP's complete coverage of the investigations into R. Kelly.

Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
In this March 5, 2019 photo provided by CBS, R&B singer R. Kelly gestures while making a point during an interview with Gayle King on
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.  (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.  (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
In this frame from video provided by CBS, R. Kelly talks during an interview with Gayle King on
In this Feb. 23, 2019, photo, Azriel Clary, left, 21, and Joycelyn Savage, 23, leave the the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago following R&B star R. Kelly's first court appearance on sexual abuse charges.
Timothy Savage, left, and his wife Jonjelyn Savage discuss their daughter's relationship with R&B singer R. Kelly at a press conference with their attorney on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Decatur, Ga. The family claims they haven't seen their daughter, Joycelyn Savage, for years and blame Kelly for maintaining a cult-like influence over her. The recording artist has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.  (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
In this frame from video provided by CBS, R. Kelly talks during an interview with Gayle King on
In this frame from video provided by CBS, R. Kelly talks during an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning" broadcast Wednesday, March 6, 2019. CBS' King proves unflappable during an emotional interview with R&B star R. Kelly that aired on "CBS This Morning." King's composure with an emotional R. Kelly about the sex abuse charges against him may have garnered more attention than his comments on the matter. (CBS via AP)
Timothy Savage, left, and his wife Jonjelyn Savage discuss their daughter's relationship with R&B singer R. Kelly at a press conference with their attorney on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Decatur, Ga. The family claims they haven't seen their daughter, Joycelyn Savage, for years and blame Kelly for maintaining a cult-like influence over her. The recording artist has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Timothy Savage, left, and his wife Jonjelyn Savage discuss their daughter's relationship with R&B singer R. Kelly at a press conference with their attorney on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Decatur, Ga. The family claims they haven't seen their daughter, Joycelyn Savage, for years and blame Kelly for maintaining a cult-like influence over her. The recording artist has been trailed for decades by allegations that he violated underage girls and women and held some as virtual slaves. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.  (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 booking photo released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is R. Kelly. A Cook County Sheriff's Office official says singer Kelly won't be released from jail until he pays $161,000 in back child support he owes. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari says Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday during a hearing over the child support and that his next hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 13. (Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019 booking photo released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is R. Kelly. A Cook County Sheriff's Office official says singer Kelly won't be released from jail until he pays $161,000 in back child support he owes. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari says Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday during a hearing over the child support and that his next hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 13. (Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
In this Feb. 23, 2019, photo, Azriel Clary, left, 21, and Joycelyn Savage, 23, leave the the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago following R&B star R. Kelly's first court appearance on sexual abuse charges.
In this Feb. 23, 2019, photo, Azriel Clary, left, 21, and Joycelyn Savage, 23, leave the the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago following R&B star R. Kelly's first court appearance on sexual abuse charges. "CBS This Morning" interviews with the two women who live with Kelly — Savage and Clary — will air Thursday, March 7. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty.   (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Musician R. Kelly arrives at the Daley Center for a hearing in his child support case at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. Kelly was charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. He's pleaded not guilty. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Darryll Johnson, publicist for musician R. Kelly speaks to the media at the Daley Center after a hearing in Kelly's child support case in which he allegedly owes $161,663 to his ex-wife, at the Daley Center, Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Chicago. R. Kelly was arrested and sent back to jail. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
In this March 5, 2019 photo provided by CBS, R&B singer R. Kelly gestures while making a point during an interview with Gayle King on
In this March 5, 2019 photo provided by CBS, R&B singer R. Kelly gestures while making a point during an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning" broadcast. The R&B singer gave his first interview since being charged last month with sexually abusing four females dating back to 1998, including three underage girls. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. (Lazarus Jean-Baptiste/CBS via AP)