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Ex-R Kelly manager pleads guilty to intimidating victim of singer

By | Published on Wednesday 27 July 2022

R Kelly

R Kelly’s former manager Donnell Russell has pleaded guilty to charges of stalking, related to the harassment and intimidation of one of Kelly’s accusers.

Russell was accused of threatening to publish sexually explicit images of the unnamed woman, via messages sent to both her and her mother, if she did not drop claims she had made about Kelly.

The musician, of course, was convicted in a New York court last year of establishing and running a criminal enterprise in order to sexually and physically abuse women and teenagers. He has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The campaign of harassment began in November 2018, when Russell sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer, purporting to be written by Kelly himself, featuring two cropped nude images of her and warning that he would be “publishing soon”.

In January 2019, he began sending text messages to the woman and her mother, warning them to “pull the plug or you will be exposed”. Screenshots of the text exchanges and photos were posted to a Facebook page apparently set up by Russell at around the same time. Then, in January 2020, he showed the images during a live interview on YouTube.

In a statement following Russell’s guilty plea, US Attorney Breon Peace said: “[Russell used] threats, harassment and intimidation in a deliberate effort to silence one of R Kelly’s victims and prevent her voice from being heard. When his initial effort failed, he continued his vile campaign by sending threatening messages to Jane Doe and her mother, and publishing explicit photos of the victim on the internet before and after Kelly was indicted”.

“As this prosecution makes clear, the defendant’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but it was also criminal and will not be tolerated”, he concluded.

This is not Russell’s only conviction in relation to his defence of Kelly. Last week, he was found guilty of calling in a false gun threat to a New York cinema that was preparing to screen the documentary ‘Surviving R Kelly’ in 2018. That threat resulted in the event being called off.