Three of R. Kelly’s friends are charged with intimidating and harassing his sexual abuse victims by ‘setting their cars on fire and offering to pay them off because they “know too much”‘
- Michael Williams, Richard Arline Jr and Donnell Russell, have been charged with trying to intimidate or harass women who say Kelly abused them
- The singer is currently in jail awaiting multiple trials on charges of sexual misconduct
- Prosecutors say Williams drove from Georgia to Florida to set a woman’s car on fire
- Arline Jr. allegedly tried to pay a woman off because she ‘knew too much’ about Kelly
- Russell is accused of trying to intimidate a different woman and her mother
- Kelly’s attorney tweeted that he had nothing to do with the charges
Three of R. Kelly’s friends have been charged with trying to intimidate women who say he sexually abused them
Three of R. Kelly’s friends have been charged with intimidating or harassing women who claim he sexually abused them by setting fire to their cars and offering them money to because they ‘know too much’.
Kelly is in jail awaiting multiple trials in various cities on charges of sexually abusing women.
According to prosecutors, his friends, Michael Williams, Richard Arline Jr and Donnell Russell, recently tried to intimidate some of the women who say he abused them.
Michael Williams, 37, of Valdosta, Georgia, allegedly traveled to Florida in June and set fire to an SUV parked outside a residence where one of Kelly’s victims was staying.
Williams also conducted Internet searches for ‘the detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering and countries that do not have extradition with the United States,’ authorities said in a news release.
‘The men charged today allegedly have shown that there is no line they will not cross to help Kelly avoid the consequences of his alleged crimes – even if it means re-victimizing his accusers,’ Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in New York, said in a statement.
Also charged were two Illinois men with ties to Kelly. His longtime friend, Richard Arline Jr., 31, is accused of offering to pay off a woman he believed had ‘too much’ incriminating information against Kelly.
Authorities said they set up a wiretap and recorded a call in which Arline claimed he had spoken with Kelly behind bars during a three-way call.
A lawyer for Kelly said he had nothing to do with the charges
Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, is charged with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother after the unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against Kelly. Authorities said Russell, a manager and adviser to Kelly, sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer with cropped nude photographs of her and later sent her a text warning her: ‘Pull the plug or you will be exposed.’
It was not immediately clear whether Russell and Arline had attorneys who could comment on the charges.
Federal prosecutors announced charges Wednesday against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer R. Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
A longtime friend of the indicted singer offered to pay a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating in Kelly’s prosecution, authorities said, while a manager and adviser of Kelly threatened to release sexually explicit photographs of a woman who sued Kelly.
A Kelly defense attorney said he had ‘no involvement whatsoever’ in any attempt to silence witnesses.
‘He hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so,’ attorney Steve Greenberg said on Twitter.
The Grammy-award winning musician has pleaded not guilty to dozens of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
The charges range from sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying Kelly with girls. Kelly also is accused of having unprotected sex with a minor in 2015 without disclosing he had herpes.