R KELLY DENIES UNDERAGE SEX CLAIMS

It's reported that a source had given a Chicago paper videotaped evidence of the star's guilt...

R&B kingpin R Kelly has proclaimed his innocence as CHICAGO police launch an investigation into allegations he had sex with an underage girl.

The Chicago Sun-Times broke a story last Friday (February 8) saying an anonymous source had given them a videotape that contains almost 27 minutes of footage of R Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The newspaper passed the tape to the Chicago police.

“It’s very difficult for me, but, you know, I’m innocent,” R Kelly said later that day. “It’s crap, and that’s how we’re going to treat it. All I know is this: I have a few people in the past that I’ve fired… people that I’ve thought were my friends that’s not my friends.

“Ever since then it’s been threats on what they’re gonna do to me if I don’t pay them this, they’ll put a story out… and when I refuse to pay them, and now here come this story.”

However, it is not the first time R Kelly, a Chicago native, has faced such allegations. His protege a href=”http://www.nme.com/artists/112343..htm.htm”>Aaliyah, who died tragically in a plane crash last year, was rumoured to be 15 when she married the star. And a lawyer who has filed two lawsuits against R Kelly claiming that the singer had sex with underage girls said the family of the girl pictured in the tape sent to the Sun-Times had contacted her. The girl is now 17.

“We have been contacted by them over a week ago. I’ve had discussions with the family,” said Susan E Loggans, representing Tiffany Hawkins and Tracy Sampson, who claim they were 15 and 17, respectively, when R Kelly had sex with them. “I think the whole thing is coming out, which is probably healthy.”

The Sun-Times also claim Chicago police first began investigating allegations about R Kelly and the girl on the videotape about two years ago. At the time, the girl and her parents denied she was having sex with R Kelly. Without hard evidence or eyewitness testimony, police and prosecutors were unable to press charges. Now, with the video, authorities say they are more confident about building a case against R Kelly.

“The reason these things are happening I really do believe is because of the fact that I didn’t fall back as far as blackmail was concerned,” R Kelly said. “I didn’t give them any money.”