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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Third underage sex case for R Kelly
R Kelly
R Kelly has won two Grammy Awards
R&B star R Kelly has been hit with a third lawsuit which says he had sex with an underage girl who then became pregnant.

But lawyers for the Grammy-winning singer have said they will fight the case, saying he is the target of people trying to get to his money.

In the past, we've taken the high road with regard to a series of terrible allegations made against Robert

R Kelly's lawyer
Kelly has settled two previous civil suits, in 1997 and 2001, saying he did it to avoid anyone having to face court.

But lawyers have spoken out over the new allegation against the 33-year-old, whose first name is Robert, and said the "cash machine is closed".

'Outright lies'

"R. Kelly is no angel, but he is no monster, either," lawyer Gerry Margolis said.

"This latest suit is a collection of half-truths, distortions and outright lies that we intend to fight and beat," he added.

No details of the previous settlements have been disclosed.

The new suit says a 16-year-old girl became pregnant after having sex with Kelly.

The legal age limit in the state of Illinois, where it is said to have happened, is 17 years old.

Now 20 years old, the woman is seeking $50,000 (34,328) in damages.

Police have indicated they are investigating the latest claim.

Settle quietly

"In the past, we've taken the high road with regard to a series of terrible allegations made against Robert," Mr Margolis said.

"Rather than going to court to defend him against these charges - a process that would have degraded everyone concerned - we decided to settle the cases quietly."

R Kelly is a double-Grammy award winner and has scored massive hits with ballads including I Believe I Can Fly as well as raunchy numbers such as Bump 'n' Grind.

Mr Margolis added: "People seem to have gotten the idea that R Kelly is some sort of walking ATM machine they can hit up for cash simply by threatening to sue him."

Lawyer Susan Loggans, who represents the women in all three lawsuits, said she was glad Kelly decided to fight the latest accusation.

"I think every person has a right to have a day in court," said Loggans.

"(Kelly's lawyers) previously made a statement that R. Kelly isn't an ATM, and I think it's sad that that's how he looks at it."

See also:

28 Feb 02 | Music
Grammys 2002: The winners
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