R Kelly Speaks Out After Escaping Underage Sex Chargesby Contributor | | 17 September 2008
R Kelly has talked publicly for the first time since being cleared of 14 charges of child pornography levelled against him.
The Ignition singer was arrested in 2002 after a newspaper was sent a video of the R 'n' B star allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
But with prosecutors unable to establish the authenticity of the tape, or the identity of the female seen in the footage - with the alleged victim refusing to give evidence, Kelly was cleared of all charges.
Speaking to Black Entertainment Television (BET), the 41-year-old said he planned to move on with his life following the trial.
"I can't keep answering these questions," he declared.
"If you were charged with something and found innocent, then you can't be found guilty for being found innocent."
When asked by BET presenter Toure whether he had a weakness for teenage girls, Kelly replied: "When you say teenage, how old do you mean?
"I have some 19-year-old friends, but I don't like anybody illegal if that's what we're talking about, underage," he added.
The award-winning singer also alleged that the accusations against him may have been made by unhappy former employees.
"When you're me, when you're R Kelly, everybody wants a piece of you, and if you don't give 'em a piece they'll find a way to get a piece of you one way or the other," he said.
"I've been blackmailed a billion times in my career - before the trial, during the trial, after the trial."
Kelly stressed that he would not allow his legal troubles to "affect my gift" and likened himself to a fireman, duty-bound to run "into the fire" on behalf of others.