NEW YORK (AP) — A self-described manager and adviser to R. Kelly pleaded guilty on Tuesday to an interstate harassment charge, less than a week after he was convicted of threatening over the phone that shots were on the way. about to perform at a Manhattan theater where a documentary about the singer was about to be screened.
Donnell Russell, 47, of Chicago, pleaded in federal court in Brooklyn.
U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Russell used threats, harassment and intimidation to silence one of Kelly’s sexual abuse victims. Kelly, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison last month, was convicted last year of racketeering and sex trafficking.
Peace said in a statement that Russell sent threatening messages to the woman and her mother and then posted explicit photos of the victim on the internet.
Russell could face up to five years in prison when sentencing on Nov. 17.
Prosecutors said the campaign of harassment spanned from November 2018 to February 2020 after the woman filed a civil suit against Kelly.
Last Friday, a jury in Manhattan federal court found Russell guilty of threatening bodily harm through interstate communications.
The jury found that Russell made a threatening phone call that forced the evacuation of a theater where Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” series was to air, and a panel discussion was to take place with several women in the documentary.
Prosecutors argued during the week-long trial that Russell was trying to protect the lucrative career of Kelly, a Grammy-winning and multi-platinum songwriter.
A trial witness said a deep-voiced man called the theater to warn that “someone had a gun and they were going to shoot the place.” Prosecutors said the call was made to the theater from Russell’s home on a day when Russell made nine phone calls to the theater in an attempt to stop the documentary from airing.
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