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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

3 men arrested for harassing, threatening R. Kelly’s accusers

The singer’s defense attorney said the artist had ‘no involvement whatsoever’ in a plot to silence victims.

Several of R. Kelly’s associates have been arrested for allegedly threatening, harassing and trying to bribe women who accused the singer of sexual abuse. 

According to a complaint filed by U.S. attorneys, three men connected to the disgraced R&B star tried to intimidate several women by firebombing a victim’s father’s car, offering a half-million-dollar bribe, and releasing sexually explicit photos online, NBC New York reports. Richard Arline Jr., Donnell Russell and Michael Williams were charged Wednesday for “re-victimizing his accusers.” 

Arline is said to be a longtime friend of Kelly, who offered one accuser $500,000 to keep quiet about her experience with the hitmaker. Russell, a former manager and adviser to the artist, released sexually explicit photos of a victim after she filed a lawsuit against R. Kelly. He reportedly published the images on a Facebook page and shared them during a YouTube live vlog in January.

Read More: Prosecutors want R. Kelly jury to be anonymous

Williams is related to Kelly’s former publicist. In June, he set fire to an SUV belonging to the father of an accuser, according to prosecutors.

“These crimes shock the conscience,” said Peter Fitzhugh, a special agent-in-charge with Homeland Security Investigations, who worked on Kelly’s sex crimes case in New York. “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.”

Defense attorney Steve Greenberg said on Twitter that R. Kelly had “no involvement whatsoever” in a plot to silence victims.

Read More: ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ producer Dream Hampton to helm Tulsa race massacre docu-series

As theGRIO previously reported, Kelly is currently awaiting trial in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. After the coronavirus pandemic hit America, he asked a judge for bail in April in fear of contracting the virus. U.S District Judge Ann Donnelly denied the request on April 7, concluding that she had “no compelling reasons” to release Kelly and that he was still a flight risk, according to USA Today.

R. Kelly is also facing racketeering and sex crime charges in New York.

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