By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 02, 2003 11:28 AM

Corey Clark, the booted “American Idol” finalist who faces trial next month on charges that he allegedly assaulted his sister last October and resisted arrest, apologized to viewers and his rivals on the FOX talent show Tuesday night.

“A story came out … about me, alleging that I had beaten up my 15-year-old sister and four police officers, and that I was endangering a child, my sister,” Clark said on a videotape that was shown at the beginning of the evening’s live edition.

“Basically,” he said, “the charges they’re trying to bring against me I’m not guilty of at all.”

After the Smoking Gun Web site first published details of Clark’s criminal charges, FOX announced that he would be kicked off the show. “The producers and network feel that Corey’s behavior warrants his disqualification,” the network said. “Due to his failure to disclose, compounded by an error in a police report which misspelled Corey’s name, the incident was not discovered during a background check.”

Clark, 22, the frizzy-haired 6-footer who performed such songs as “Against All Odds” and “Foolish Heart” during the competition, said on Tuesday’s show: “Had I told the producers about it from the beginning, there’s no telling what might have happened. To tell the truth, I was scared.”

Clark then turned contrite, saying, “To those people who could have still have been here in my place, I want to apologize to them, definitely.”

He added, “I will definitely keep going, that’s who I am — that’s why I’m Corey.”

Clark is due back in court April 15 in Topeka, Kan.

Eight contestants remain on “American Idol,” with the winner expected to be decided during May sweeps.