R. Kelly’s manager was arrested and charged with threatening to shoot in a Manhattan movie theater two years ago, leading to an evacuation and cancellation of a documentary screening that discussed the abuse allegations against the singer. sex of women and minors.
Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, was charged with conspiracy and threats of physical harm by interstate media. He was expected to appear remotely Friday before a Manhattan federal court magistrate. It was unclear who will represent him in court.
The charge comes shortly after Russell was charged in Brooklyn this week with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother after an unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against Kelly. Authorities said Russell sent a letter to the woman’s attorney with cropped photos of her naked and a text warning her: “Disconnect or you will be displayed.”
In the latest case, authorities said threats from Kelly’s manager and advisor in December 2018 forced the cancellation of the Lifetime series “Surviving R. Kelly” at the NeueHouse Madison Square while police took precautions. , although they determined that there was no imminent threat.
Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement that some accusers of the Grammy-winning R&B singer were attending the performance.
“Threats of firearm violence intended to intimidate and silence victims of sexual abuse are illegal and unacceptable,” he said.
William F. Sweeney Jr., director of the FBI’s New York office, said it “goes against logic to think that a threat like the one charged here could prevent victims from talking about the alleged abuse they suffered.”
Sweeney said Russell was successful in canceling a screening of the documentary, but was unable to silence the women included in the film.
“Every day we do everything in our power to ensure that victims of sexual abuse have an opportunity to be heard and we continue to do so despite those who allegedly use violence as a means of stopping them,” he said.
Kelly is in prison in Chicago after pleading not guilty to dozens of state and federal sex crime charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
The charges range from sexual abuse to heading a criminal organization in order to get girls for Kelly. The musician is also accused of having unprotected sex with a minor in 2015 without revealing that he had herpes.