NEW YORK – Crooner R. Kelly has a posse of his own in his spat with Jay-Z: a high-powered legal team that sued the rapper for $75 million Monday.

Ed Hayes, Kelly’s attorney, says the rapper sabotaged a joint tour of the superstars out of jealousy and had one of his pals attack Kelly with pepper spray Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

“It was supposed to be the perfect marriage of hip hop and R&B. Instead, it’s going to be a terrible divorce,” said Hayes, who filed suit Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Kelly walked off the stage when, he says, he saw Jay-Z fans waving guns in the audience. He says he was returning to the stage when he was sprayed by Jay-Z’s childhood buddy, Tyran (Ty Ty) Smith, according to court papers.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, booted Kelly from the tour after the incident. His camp claims Kelly was canned because he’s erratic.

“Mr. Kelly made a statement from the stage claiming members of the audience were waving guns,” said a statement issued by Jay-Z’s spokeswoman, Jana Fleishman. “Jay-Z sees that statement as the equivalent of screaming “fire’ in a crowded theater and was unable to continue with someone whose actions could potentially create a dangerous situation.”

Hayes said Kelly wanted to rejoin the tour Saturday, but Jay-Z decided to finish the rest of the tour solo, with guest appearances by such superstars as Mary J. Blige, Usher, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Mariah Carey and Busta Rhymes.

Jay-Z and his pals turned the tour, which began Oct. 1, “into a nightmare” by using “threats and acts of violence” to exclude Kelly from the tour, Hayes said.

The suit says Jay-Z and his associates ruined Kelly’s performances with bad lighting that made him look lackluster on stage, while Jay-Z was lighted with “brightness and energy.”

The suit blames Jay-Z’s behavior on “spite and jealousy toward R. Kelly’s superior audience draw,” and says the rapper sabotaged the tour to help sell tickets to his documentary, “Fade to Black,” which opens in movie theaters on Friday.

According to the lawsuit, R. Kelly was supposed to get a larger share of the concert profits because he can earn millions of dollars more by touring without Jay-Z.

“This is a very violent industry and they are fighting over enormous amounts of money and love,” Hayes said.

The suit seeks $15 million in compensatory damages for breach of contract and $60 million in punitive damages for intentionally derailing the tour.



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