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R Kelly: 'accusers are lying'

R. Kelly yelled through tears in a recent TV interview before an audience numbering in the millions, saying he's in a fight for his life to disprove sexual abuse charges. That fight will ultimately be waged in court, with an audience numbering just 12 jurors.

While the day lawyers deliver opening statements to jurors inside a Cook County courtroom is still many months or even years away, court filings and comments by his lead attorney after the R&B star was charged in February provide clues about an emerging legal strategy.

Based on comments by Kelly and his attorney, they intend to question the veracity of his accusers and argue that, if he had sex with them, it was consensual and he thought they were of age. His attorney has also signalled he may push to have some counts tossed on grounds statutes of limitation ran out or because some are too closely related to crimes for which Kelly was acquitted at his 2008 child pornography trial.

Kelly, 52, was right in more ways than one when he cursed during the interview with Gayle King of "CBS This Morning," saying: "I'm fighting for my ... life." If convicted on all ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse of three underage girls and one adult, the Grammy winner faces an effective life sentence of up to 70 years in prison.

The process of vetting evidence from prosecutors hasn't begun, and after wading through it all, the defence is expected to fine tune their argument that Kelly's accusers are misrepresenting the facts. For now, there's not much finesse.

"All of them are lying," Kelly told King in his only full interview since being charged. "I have been assassinated," he said. Kelly's lead attorney, Steve Greenberg, also told reporters the day of Kelly's arrest, "I think all the women are lying, yes."

Greenberg is best known for representing the accused in several high-profile murder cases, including of former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson. He was convicted in 2012 of killing his third wife in a case reopened after his fourth wife disappeared.

Greenberg is regarded as a savvy lawyer prone to quips that sometimes raise eyebrows. In arguing that any sex was consensual, Greenberg told reporters last month about Kelly: "He's a rock star. He doesn't need to have nonconsensual sex."



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