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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 September, 2003, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
R Kelly compares himself to Bin Laden
R Kelly
R Kelly has protested his innocence over the charges
Troubled R'n'B star R Kelly says Osama Bin Laden is the only person who could understand the torment of his being accused of child pornography.

The singer has been charged with 21 offences of child pornography, stemming from a video alleged to show him having sex with an underage girl. He has denied all the charges.

People can say whatever they want about you without knowing the facts," Mr Kelly tells Blender magazine.

"They can criticise you without even knowing you, and hate you when they don't even know you. All of a sudden, you're, like, the Bin Laden of America.

"Osama bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going through," he added.

The singer was arrested in June 2000 over the alleged videotape, which was said to have been widely distributed over the internet.

Massive hit

But the allegations have far from dampened the 36-year-old's career.

After gaining fame with the ballad I believe I can fly, he found his mainstream popularity on the wane.

But he returned to the top of the charts in the US and UK in 2003 with the massive hit Ignition Remix, while album Chocolate Factory sold 1.7m copies in America.

But the usual hectic travelling schedule of a pop star has been somewhat curtailed though as the particulars of his bail means he has to ask a judge's permission to leave the city of Chicago.

No date has been set for Mr Kelly's trial. If found guilty, the singer could face 15 years in jail and a fine of $100,000 (62,500).

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