R Kelly’s manager accused of threatening shooting to block tell-all
Singer R Kelly’s manager threatened to shoot up a Manhattan theater to prevent a screening of the tell-all docuseries “Surviving R Kelly” which was attended by a number of the disgraced rapper’s accusers, Manhattan prosecutors said on Friday.
Donnell Russell, 45, called an employee of NeueHouse theater in Madison Square on December 4, 2018, and said there was a person in the building with a gun prepared to shoot up the screening, prosecutors said.
The threat came after multiple foiled attempts to sabotage the screening – including calls to law enforcement and a cease and desist letter, court documents show.
NeueHouse cancelled the screening and evacuated the theater after Russell called in the threat.
“As alleged, Donnell Russell used threats of violence to stop a screening of a docuseries devoted to exploring allegations of sexual abuse against women and minor girls by the recording artist R Kelly. By allegedly threatening a shooting at the theater, Russell prevented the screening, which was attended by a number of R Kelly’s alleged victims,” Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.
“Threats of gun violence aimed at intimidating and silencing victims of sexual abuse are unlawful as well as unacceptable. We are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting such crimes.”
At Russell’s Manhattan Federal Court arraignment on Friday, he was charged with one count of conspiracy to threaten physical harm by interstate communication and one count of threatening physical harm by interstate communication, each of which carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Magistrate Judge Ona T Wang issued 75,000 dollars partially secured bond in the case. Russell must surrender his passport and his travel is restricted to parts of Illinois, California, New Jersey and points in between for travel purposes.
“And he is to refrain from a firearm or a bomb. OK?” the judge said.
On Wednesday, Russell was charged separately in Brooklyn Federal Court along with two other of Kelly’s cronies for threatening to publicly release explicit photographs of one alleged victim if she did not withdraw her civil lawsuit against the singer, court docs show.
Brooklyn prosecutors say Russell cropped nude photographs of the woman, known only as Jane Doe, to her lawyer, along with the text, “the next two pictures have been cropped for the sake of not exposing her extremities to the world, yet!!!”
Kelly, 53, is accused of running a racketeering scheme in his Brooklyn case – one of three he’s facing – and heading an enterprise that trafficked women and girls who would come to his shows.