R. Kelly's Alleged Associates Charged With Bribery and Intimidation
A trio of associated linked to the disgraced singer R. Kelly was arrested and charged Tuesday. The three men are "accused of attempting to harass, threaten, intimidate and bribe several of Kelly's alleged victims of sexual abuse," NPR reports. The men have been identified as Richard Arline Jr., a friend; Donnell Russell, one of Kelly's managers; and Michael Williams, who has been identified as a relative of Kelly's publicist.
According to court documents filed in New York on Tuesday, Arline attempted to bribe an accuser with $500,000 to keep her from testifying against Kelly in court and cooperating with investigators. Prosecutors also claimed that Arline insists that he has maintained contact with Kelly through three-way phone calls.
Russell attempted to harass and intimidate another of Kelly's accusers and her mother between November 2018 and February 2020. The case says that Russell threatened to release "sexually explicit photos of the woman" after she filed a civil suit against Kelly. Using a pseudonym, Russell sent photos to Lifetime and A&E television on December 4, 2018, the day that Lifetime was set to host an advanced screening of Surviving R. Kelly. The event was canceled at the last minute after a gun threat was called in.
Williams is being charged with setting fire to an SUV parked outside of a Florida residence where one of Kelly's accusers was staying. Prosecutors say that Williams's search history included queries for information about "the flammability of fertilizer and diesel fuel" as well as "materials about witness intimidation and tampering."
Steve Greenberg, one of Kelly's attorneys, posted a tweet as soon as the news broke today. Greenberg claims that Kelly has no connection to the charges in the new case.
"Without question, Robert Kelly had nothing to do with any of these alleged acts by those charged," he wrote. "He hasn't attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so. No involvement whatsoever."
Kelly is facing criminal charges in the Eastern District as well as Illinois. In total, he is being charged with 22 counts for allegedly abusing 11 girls and women from 1994 to 2018.
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