ET spoke with the 64-year-old “CBS This Morning” co-host on Monday and she reacted to Kelly’s recent arrest in Chicago on federal sex crime charges. King’s statements come after her explosive March interview with Kelly, which took place in the wake of “Surviving R. Kelly”, a docu-series in which multiple women came forward with allegations of abuse against the singer. Kelly has denied all allegations against him.
“The indictments are not a surprise to me. We’ve been hearing that they are coming for quite some time,” King tells ET. “… He always, always, always insists that he’s innocent of all the charges. But now these are very serious charges coming from federal officials. I think that it’s a brand new ballgame. So we will see what happens.”
King, who said she’s been in touch with Kelly’s team since his most recent arrest, also revealed that Kelly’s lawyers are confident in his defence.
“We all want to know, ‘How is it going to play out?'” King says. “I’ve talked to R. Kelly’s representative since he was arrested and they are still very convinced that he will be fine and that he will be proven innocent once again. They told me they’re very confident about that. So we shall see.”
Following the new charges, Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, did tweet out a lengthy statement in Kelly’s defence.
“As has been reported, Robert Kelly was arrested by federal agents last night while walking his dog. The agents were courteous and professional, as was Mr. Kelly. The charges arose from alleged conduct in the Northern District of Illinois as well as the Eastern District of New York,” the statement read. “The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current State indictment and his former State charges that he was acquitted of. Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old.”
“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise. He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators,” the statement continued. “He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to the vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.”
As for her interview with the 52-year-old singer — in which Kelly sobbed, screamed and claimed everyone in the documentary was “lying” — King believes his reaction was due to “the stress” of the investigations against him.
“I’ve always believed that part of the reason for his outburst, meltdown, whatever you want to call it… he’s been aware of this investigation and I think the stress of that certainly I think has to… mess with you,” she says. “And I think that might’ve been part of the out[burst].”
“… My interview with R. Kelly just added to the conversation because you got to see him respond to that documentary for the first time,” King adds. “We have heard these charges and these stories about R. Kelly for years. For years! But I think many people just gave him a pass because we liked his music so much and he had been to trial and he had been acquitted in the trial and so you think, ‘OK. He did go to court and he was acquitted.’ But now these are different days and different times and we’re hearing things with different ears.”
For King, the number of women speaking out against Kelly can be credited solely to the docuseries, which she said “changed, I think, everything in this case.”
“I think that Surviving R. Kelly documentary was a game changer,” she notes. “And, when you talk about the power of media, look at that Surviving R. Kelly documentary. It was very well done. R. Kelly, of course, insists that it’s all lies and it’s not true. But so many women came forward and told their story. And after that documentary aired, more women came forward and told their story.”
“And I think we are looking and hearing things differently now than we used to in the past,” she continues. “And I don’t think people are these days given a pass or women are not believed. And I think that that has changed. The media makes a huge difference on many stories and I think the R. Kelly story is an example of that.”
Kelly’s most recent arrest comes after he was charged with 11 additional counts of sexual abuse in May. Kelly has denied all allegations against him.
After those charges, Greenberg told reporters, “We pled not guilty to all of the charges because he’s not guilty. If you didn’t do it, then you didn’t do it. I think he’s feeling positive. It’s tough. Everything is against him.”
The singer was previously jailed in March for failing to pay more than $161,000 in overdue child support. He was released three days later after someone covered the debt on his behalf. Additionally, Kelly pleaded not guilty in February to 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse allegedly involving three girls and one woman over roughly 10 years starting in the late ’90s.
Watch the video below for more on Kelly.
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