Singer Rick James, publicly confronting allegations that he recently sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman at his home, appeared on Friday outside his lawyers' office in Los Angeles to say he is the

Singer Rick James, publicly confronting allegations that he recently sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman at his home, appeared on Friday outside his lawyers' office in Los Angeles to say he is the victim of a financially motivated smear campaign. As previously reported, police went to James' home in California's San Fernando Valley Nov. 11 with a search warrant to investigate the allegations.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that detectives were looking into allegations that James sexually assaulted the woman, but declined to provide further details of the case.

"Once the smoke has cleared the air, everyone will find out that these are just false allegations," the braided-haired entertainer said. "I feel good, I'm working on albums. I'm trying to be a father to my son and leave all the drugs alone."

His attorney, Steffeny Holtz, said the performer was cooperating with police who were investigating "allegations of battery being made by a former guest at his residence."

James and his lawyer said his fame, personal access and his criminal history -- he served two years in prison for a 1993 conviction on charges of assaulting two women -- made him an easy target for opportunists.

"I'm in a fish bowl, and sometimes you can pray to God all you want, and I do a lot of that, and sometimes the wrong people enter into your space, and they're money-hungry and greedy," said James, who wore a charcoal-colored suit, open-necked shirt, and purple-tinted sunglasses. "The police have been very, very helpful in this," he said. "They, like I, would like to get to the bottom of this and find out exactly where this is coming from."

The self-styled "King of Funk" made a comeback bid in 1996 after serving two years in prison for separate attacks on two women -- one at his home in the Hollywood Hills and the other at a luxury West Hollywood hotel, while under the influence of cocaine.

He released an album in 1997, but suffered a stroke in November 1998 caused by a condition known as "rock'n'roll neck," brought on by whiplash-like motion of the head and neck on stage.


COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2002. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print