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R. Kelly manager convicted for harassing one of his victims

Yesterday (November 17th), the manager of R. Kelly, Donnell Russell, was sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to stalking and harassing one of his client’s sexual abuse victims. 

Per the Department of Justice, Russell was charged with interstate stalking and using phone calls, texts and emails as part of an extended campaign to harass the victim in question, identified as Jane Doe. The prosecution claimed that Russell stalked and harassed Doe and her mother to stop her from coming forward with her accusations against Kelly. 

Discussing the charges in a press statement, US Attorney Breon Peace explained that Russell had “used threats, harassment and intimidation in a deliberate effort to silence one of R. Kelly’s victims and prevent her voice from being heard.”

The charges centre around Russell’s threat to release sexually explicit photos of Jane Doe unless she withdrew her civil lawsuit against the ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ singer. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between November 2018 and February 2020.

In that period, Russell sent a text to Jane Doe with the threat: “Pull the plug or you’ll be exposed”. He also used an alias to create a Facebook page, ‘Surviving Lies’, on which he posted images of the victim. The page’s name directly referenced 2019’s reveal-all docuseries, Surviving R. Kellywhich detailed the singer’s extensive abuse. Then, in 2020 Russell exhibited the photos during two separate live streams. 

“[Russell] continued his vile campaign by sending threatening messages to Jane Doe and her mother,” Peace said, “and publishing explicit photos of the victim on the internet before and after Kelly was indicted.” He then labelled Russell’s conduct “reprehensible” and “criminal”, saying it “will not be tolerated.”

Elsewhere, Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Ricky J. Patel, maintained that Russell had “repeatedly and purposefully” attempted to silence Doe from exposing “the emotional and physical trauma” that Kelly had inflicted on her. 

Back in July, Russell pleaded guilty to one charge of interstate stalking. Also that month, he was convicted on a separate charge relating to a gun threat he made in 2018, wanting to disrupt a New York screening of Surviving R. Kelly. For this, he faces up to five years in prison, with sentencing due on Monday, November 21st.

In June, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison.