R. Kelly denies new sexual assault allegation. He says a woman who accused him on Tuesday is smearing him to damage his career

By Gary Susman
February 21, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

On Tuesday, the day his new album ”Chocolate Factory” was released, R. Kelly was hit with yet another accusation of illicit sex. A 24-year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting her that day at a Chicago recording studio, the Associated Press reports. Police say they are investigating the allegations but have yet to charge the R&B singer with a crime.

A Kelly spokesperson denied the allegations and said their timing was not coincidental. ”Coming as they did on the same day R. Kelly released what is likely to be the most successful album of his career, these supposed charges amount to nothing more than an outrageous and blatant attempt at character assassination,” the statement said. ”The fact is that Kelly did not assault anyone or engage in any improper behavior yesterday or any day, and he is confident that an impartial investigation will confirm that.”

Kelly is currently free on bond and awaiting trial in Chicago on 21 counts of child pornography over the notorious videotape that emerged last year that allegedly shows him having sex with an underage girl. He also faces child porn charges in Florida stemming from similar images allegedly found on a digital camera in his home there.

If the aim of Tuesday’s accusation was to harm Kelly’s record sales, it appears to have failed. MTV News reports that early sales tracking suggests that ”Chocolate Factory” is likely to sell 700,000 copies this week and challenge 50 Cent’s top-selling ”Get Rich or Die Tryin”’ for Billboard chart supremacy.