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Former R Kelly manager jailed for 20 months for harassing victim

By | Published on Friday 18 November 2022

R Kelly

A former manager of R Kelly has been jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to harassing and intimidating one of the musician’s accusers.

Donnell Russell pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of stalking, related to the harassment and intimidation of a woman who accused Kelly of abuse. Russell initially began intimidating the woman and her mother after she filed a civil lawsuit against the musician, and continued that activity once it became clear the woman would likely testify as part of one of the criminal prosecutions involving Kelly.

That criminal case was in New York, where Kelly was found guilty of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse teenagers and women, a conviction that resulted in a 30 year jail term for the music star. He was then later found guilty of sexual abuse in a separate trial in his home town of Chicago.

Russell’s charges were filed back in New York. And yesterday the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York confirmed that the former manager had been jailed for 20 months “for his participation in a scheme to harass, intimidate, and cause substantial emotional distress to Jane Doe, a victim in the Eastern District of New York racketeering case against Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R Kelly, and Jane Doe’s mother”.

The statement from the Attorney’s Office continued: “Between November 2018 and February 2020, Russell threatened to reveal sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe and to publicly reveal her sexual history if she did not withdraw her lawsuit against Kelly”.

Welcoming the sentencing, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, stated: “For more than a year, the defendant engaged in a vicious campaign to harass, humiliate and threaten the victim in order to force her to dismiss her lawsuit against R Kelly and stop speaking publicly about him”.

“The punishment meted out to the defendant today is a victory for crime victims”, he added, “particularly those of sexual assault and abuse, who are often reluctant to come forward to law enforcement or pursue legal recourse, given the trauma and fear of retaliation associated with publicly discussing their experiences”.

This is not Russell’s only run in with the law in relation to his defence of Kelly. Earlier this year he was also 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.