A victim of R. Kelly’s former manager’s stalking and harassment has received a 20-month prison term.
In July, Donnell Russell entered a guilty plea to intimidating a victim of Kelly’s abuse with threats and physical violence.
To prevent her from testifying against his client, he uploaded explicit images of her online under a pseudonym.
In the end, Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking and given a 30-year prison term.
After the anonymous victim brought a civil lawsuit against the singer in 2018, prosecutors claimed Russell, who identified himself as Kelly’s manager, advisor, and friend, used “reprehensible” methods against her and her mother.
He continued to harass them when it became clear that she was cited in New York State’s criminal case against Kelly, and was likely to testify.
Between November 2018 and February 2020, Russell threatened to reveal sexually explicit photographs of the woman; sending texts that read: “Pull the plug or you will be exposed”.
It’s reported that, In 2019, he created a Facebook page under the alias Colon Dunn, and posted screenshots of text messages between Kelly and the victim, including the same sexually explicit photographs.
He later appeared on two separate YouTube broadcasts defending Kelly, where he again displayed the photographs.
Ahead of his sentencing, Russell’s lawyers argued he should not receive jail time, saying he had led an “otherwise exemplary life” before “crossing the line in his attempts to curry favour with Robert Kelly”.
But prosecutors disagreed, saying it was important to show victims the law was on their side.
“The punishment meted out to the defendant today is a victory for crime victims, particularly those of sexual assault and abuse, who are often reluctant to come forward to law enforcement or pursue legal recourse, given the trauma and fear of retaliation associated with publicly discussing their experiences,” said Breon Peace, US Attorney for the eastern district of New York.
Separate from the stalking charges, Russell was also convicted in July of making a hoax call, claiming that a gunman was about to open fire on a Manhattan theatre that was about to premiere the Surviving R Kelly documentary that ultimately prompted criminal charges against the singer.
He will be sentenced on those charges next week.
Kelly was one of the biggest R&B stars of the 1990s and 2000s, scoring hits like I Believe I Can Fly, Ignition (Remix) and Bump N’ Grind.
Although rumours of sexual misconduct followed him for years, he evaded charges until 2019’s Surviving R Kelly documentary prompted prosecutors to appeal for victims to come forward.
After being found guilty in New York last year, the star faced a separate trial in Chicago over the summer, where he was found guilty on three counts of child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor.
Sentencing is due in that case in February 2023.
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