Comments Off on R Kelly’s friends charged with threatening and intimidating women who have accused Kelly of abuse.
Three friends of incarcerated singer, R.Kelly have been charged with threatening and intimidating women who have accused Kelly of abuse.
Federal prosecutors have announced charges against the three men including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
According to prosecutors, a longtime friend of the indicted singer allegedly offered to pay a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating in Kelly’s prosecution, while a manager and adviser to Kelly threatened to release sexually explicit photographs of a woman who also accused Kelly of sex crimes.
The third man who prosecutors think is related to Kelly’s former publicist, is also accused of intimidating witnesses.
Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, is also charged with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother.
Authorities said Russell, a manager and adviser to Kelly, sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer with cropped nude photographs of her and later sent her a text warning her: “Pull the plug or you will be exposed.”
Also charged were two Illinois men with ties to Kelly. His longtime friend, Richard Arline Jr, 31, is accused of offering to pay off a woman he believed had “too much” incriminating information against Kelly.
Authorities said they set up a wiretap and recorded a call in which Arline claimed he had spoken with Kelly behind bars during a three-way call.
Prosecutors allege Michael Williams, 37, traveled to Florida in June and set fire to an SUV parked outside a residence where one of Kelly’s victims was staying.
Prosecutors say Williams also conducted internet searches for “the detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering and countries that do not have extradition with the United States”,
Kelly’s defense team in a statement said the singer has “no involvement whatsoever” in any attempt to silence witnesses.
“He hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so,” lawyer Steve Greenberg said on Twitter.
“The men charged today allegedly have shown that there is no line they will not cross to help Kelly avoid the consequences of his alleged crimes – even if it means re-victimizing his accusers,” Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in New York, said in a statement.
The Acting United States Attorney DuCharme said: “The defendants are separately charged with engaging in multiple crimes that were intended to undermine and subvert the integrity of the criminal justice system and victimize the women who have come forward with serious allegations of criminal conduct against the defendant R. Kelly.”
DuCharme added: “Efforts to illegally influence pending federal cases, whether through threats of violence, intimidation, damage to property, or payments to buy a potential witness’s silence, will not be tolerated.”
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Peter Fitzhugh also said: “These crimes shock the conscience.
“The men charged today allegedly have shown that there is no line they will not cross to help Kelly avoid the consequences of his alleged crimes—even if it means re-victimizing his accusers.
R.Kelly has pleaded not guilty to dozens of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
The charges range from sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying Kelly with girls. Kelly also is accused of having unprotected sex with a minor in 2015 without disclosing he had herpes