The R. Kelly saga continues, and this time because of the disgraced R&B singer’s loyal network of friends. Federal prosecutors in New York have arrested three Kelly associates for threatening and bribing the alleged victims of Kelly’s abuse.
Richard Arline Jr., who prosecutors describe as a “self-proclaimed longtime friend of Kelly,” has been charged with bribing an alleged victim. The 31-year-old allegedly offered the woman $500,000 if she refused to cooperate with the federal officials.
45-year-old Donnell Russell, a self-described manager and advisor to Kelly, is facing charges for allegedly harassing and intimidating a different victim after she filed a lawsuit against Kelly. Prosecutors say that he threatened to leak nude photographs of her, as well as publicize her sexual history, if she didn’t drop the suit. He also allegedly harassed the woman online, including through Facebook, where he posted her private text messages with Kelly in a group called “Surviving Lies”.
The third associate, 37-year-old Michael Williams, is accused of setting fire to an SUV outside of a Florida home where an alleged Kelly victim had been staying. Prosecutors describe Williams as “a relative of an individual who once served as a publicist for Kelly.”
A defense attorney for Kelly said he had “no involvement whatsoever” with these three men’s alleged attempts to silence witnesses, per the Associated Press. Another one of his lawyers, Steven Greenberg, tweeted that Kelly “hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so.”
The 53-year-old Kelly is currently facing charges in Chicago, New York, Illinois, and Minnesota that range from child pornography and sexual assault, to heading a racketeering scheme designed to supply Kelly with vulnerable girls. His trial in New York trial is scheduled to begin on September 29th.
We just learned of the charging of several so called “associates” of R. Kelly. Without question, Robert Kelly had nothing to do with any of these alleged acts by those charged. He hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so. No involvement whatsoever
— Steve Greenberg (@SGcrimlaw) August 12, 2020