R Kelly isn’t the only one in his camp who’s feeling the legal fallout from his sex crimes. The disgraced singer’s manager was found guilty of calling in a shooting threat to a Manhattan movie theater in 2018 to sabotage the premiere of the “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries, which detailed the allegations of Kelly’s long history of sexual abuse from several alleged victims.
Donnell Russell was convicted of threatening physical harm through interstate communication and will be sentenced on Nov. 21, ABC 7 reported.
During the trial, prosecutors said phone records would provide evidence Russell made nine calls to the theater the day of the premiere, which was also set to include a panel discussion by some of the women featured, according to The Associated Press.
“He knew his words would sabotage the event,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors during the trial. “The defendant wanted to keep the women quiet.”
Adrian Krasniqi – a former employee working at the theater the day of the incident – testified he answered the threatening call an hour after receiving another one. In the first call, a man claiming to be a part of R Kelly’s legal team said the docuseries violated the multiple Grammy-winning artist’s copyrights, Krasniqi said.
Krasniqi said the threatening caller had a “slang tone, like a thug,” and told him matter-of-factly, “someone had a gun and they were going to shoot up the place.” Krasniqi also noted the caller had a Brooklyn accent, which is where Russell hails from.
Prosecutors also used text messages Russell sent to a woman at the theater informing her the police may soon be arriving to incriminate him. Russell also asked the woman to delete the messages, but she never did.
Kelly’s defense attorney, Michael Freedman, argued the evidence didn’t support the prosecution’s claims.
“He went and called in a threat to make money from R. Kelly? Where’s the evidence of that?” Freeman asked. “Where’s the evidence? Where’s the proof?”
Freedman added the jury would “have to decide what it all means and what, if anything, it proves about my client.”
In the end, the jury decided Russell was guilty of the threat but innocent of a conspiracy count as there was no evidence the woman he texted was in cahoots with him.