Last month, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking, racketeering, and seven other federal charges. The judge also ruled that when he’s released, he must undergo sexual disorder treatment and can have no contact with minors. Controversy and allegations have swirled around the R&B artist for years, and the dam finally began to break upon the release of the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.
R. Kelly and his team were not happy about the release of the series, which featured interviews with several of the singer’s victims and detailed the crimes he had committed. R. Kelly’s now-former manager was one of the most upset, and threatened to “shoot up the place” where the screening was supposed to happen. Now, he’s been found guilty of threatening physical harm through interstate communication and faces up to five years in prison.
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The manager, Donnell Russell, called in the threat to the New York theater NeueHouse Madison Square from his home in Chicago, said federal investigators. The private screening was going to be attended by some of R. Kelly’s victims and their families, and it was promptly evacuated and canceled when word came out that Russell had made the threat.
“The call was short. The defendant was to the point. And he was terrifying,” said Assistant US Attorney Lara Pomerantz during the trial. “Someone at the event had a gun and was going to shoot up the place. He wanted to keep these women quiet and he succeeded. His threat worked.” According to a recently unsealed complaint, Russell first tried to stop the screening by sending a fake “cease and desist” letter to the theater and trying to contact New York law enforcement.
Russell was exonerated on a conspiracy charge, but will be sentenced for the threat in November.