Artist News Legal

R Kelly associate pleads guilty to setting fire to car outside accuser’s house

By | Published on Tuesday 20 April 2021

R Kelly

An associate of R Kelly has admitted to setting fire to a car parked outside the home of one of the musician’s alleged victims. Michael Williams is the second of three men accused of trying to bribe or intimidate witnesses in the criminal case against Kelly to admit their guilt.

According to Courthouse News, Williams told the court that he had travelled to the family home of an unnamed woman who had made abuse accusations against Kelly. There, he said, he had “deliberately set a car on fire in someone’s driveway”. One of the four people inside the house saw someone fleeing the scene as the rented SUV went up in flames, apparently with their arm on fire.

A search of Williams’ computer also found that he had recently searched for information about fertiliser bombs, news about R Kelly, and the phrase “case law for tampering with a witness”. Police said he also sent threatening text messages to the woman’s father telling him that she should retract her accusations against the star.

As part of a plea deal, however, the actual charge of witness tampering against Williams will be dismissed. Instead, he will be convicted of arson and faces up to six years in prison.

In February this year, another associate of Kelly’s – Richard Arline Jr – pleaded guilty to offering another accuser money in exchange for her silence via two phone calls.

Unfortunately, investigators were listening to and recording the calls, which saw him offer the woman half a million dollars if she retracted her accusations and deleted videos of Kelly that were in her possession. He added in a second call that the payment had been authorised by Kelly himself. Arline is now facing up to fifteen years in prison.

A third Kelly associate, Donnell Russell, is accused of threatening to publish sexually explicit photographs of another woman who has made abuse accusations against Kelly. In November 2018, cropped versions of the images were sent to the woman’s lawyer with the message, “The next two pictures have been cropped for the sake of not exposing her extremities to the world, yet!!!”

Kelly, of course, remains held in custody while he awaits trials in Chicago and New York to face numerous abuse charges. One of the reasons he has been denied bail is due to evidence of witness tampering during his previous child abuse trial in 2008.