R. Kelly's mansion headed for foreclosure

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

R. Kelly found guilty on all counts in sex-trafficking trial​



By
Elizabeth Rosner and

Ben Feuerherd


September 27, 2021 3:18pm
Updated









R. Kelly found guilty on all counts in sex-trafficking trial











R. Kelly was found guilty Monday of sexually abusing women, boys and girls for decades — capping the ’90s R&B superstar’s stunning fall from grace.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner, 54, was convicted on all nine counts against him, including racketeering and violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits the transport of “any woman or girl” across state lines for any “immoral purpose.”
Kelly, who was wearing a blue suit and white mask, sat stone-faced next to his lawyers as the verdict was read.
He faces 10 years to life in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 4, 2022.
“To the victims in this case, your voices were heard, and justice was finally served,” acting US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulist said outside court after the verdict. “No one deserves what they experienced at his hands. Or the threats and harassment they faced.”
A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about nine hours across two days before reaching their unanimous verdict.
From the beginning of the month-long trial in the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn, prosecutors painted Kelly as a “predator” who used his fame and a cadre of employees to prey on young victims.
“This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot,” Assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said in her opening statement last month.
“This case is about a predator,” she said.
R. Kelly sits as the jury foreman reads the guilty verdict in Kelly's sex abuse trial R. Kelly sits as the jury foreman reads the guilty verdict in Kelly’s sex abuse trial, September 27, 2021.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg R. Kelly sits with his lawyers Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella as the jury deliberate in Kelly's sex abuse trial at Brooklyn's Federal District Court in a courtroom sketch in New York, U.S., September 27, 2021. R. Kelly sits with his lawyers Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella as the jury deliberate in Kelly’s sex abuse trial, September 27, 2021.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
To prove the racketeering charge against him, prosecutors showed jurors how Kelly used a network of friends and employees in his “inner circle” to transport his victims across state lines, control their actions and facilitate the sexual abuse.
Prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York called a parade of witnesses who testified about the abuse the disgraced singer subjected them to.
The first to take the stand was accuser Jerhonda Pace, who said Kelly repeatedly had sex with her over the course of several months after the two exchanged numbers at a party at the singer’s suburban Chicago mansion when she was under 18 years old.
R. Kelly sits with his lawyers Deveraux Cannick, Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella R. Kelly sits with his lawyers Deveraux Cannick, Calvin Scholar and Thomas Farinella at Brooklyn’s Federal District Court, September 27, 2021.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
During their last encounter, Kelly, whose full name is Robert Kelly, allegedly became enraged at Pace because she was texting on her cellphone and did not address him when he walked into the room she was in, she told jurors.
Kelly smacked her in the face and forced her to perform oral sex on him after berating her, she said in court.
During her testimony, she read from a journal, at times pausing to wipe away tears.
Kelly's defense lawyers Thomas Farinella (left) and Deveraux Cannick (right) arrive at court on September 27, 2021. Kelly’s defense lawyers Thomas Farinella (left) and Deveraux Cannick (right) arrive at court on September 27, 2021.REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
“I went to Rob’s house and he called me a bitch,” Pace said. “He said I was a silly bitch. He slapped me three times and said if I lied to him again it’s not going to be an open hand next time.
“He spit in my face and mouth,” she said. “He choked me during an argument. I had sex with him. I had oral sex with him. I went home and confessed.”
Pace said Kelly ejaculated on her face, and said she used her Aeropostale T-shirt to wipe off the semen.
Members of the prosecution team arrive at the Brooklyn federal court. Members of the prosecution team arrive at the Brooklyn federal court.REUTERS
Kelly’s attorneys sought to cast Pace — and his other accusers — as hysterical fans who were obsessed with Kelly and concocted stories about him because he refused their advances.
One of his victims was R&B singer Aaliyah, whom Kelly illegally wed in a Chicago hotel room in 1994, when she was 15 years old.
For the illicit nuptials to move forward, Kelly relied on his entourage, prosecutors showed.
R. Kelly (left) sits with his lawyer Thomas Farinella (right) as the jury deliberate in Kelly's sex abuse. R. Kelly (left) sits with his lawyer Thomas Farinella (right) as the jury deliberate in Kelly’s sex abuse.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
A former tour manager for Kelly testified in August that he bribed a Chicago-area welfare office employee to make a fake ID for Aaliyah that listed her age as 18. Kelly was 27 years old at the time.
Prosecutors alleged Kelly married Aaliyah — who died in a plane crash at the age of 22 — in an attempt to dodge criminal charges for having sex with a minor and to block her from testifying against him about the abuse.
Another witness at the trial, a former backup dancer identified as “Angela,” told jurors that she witnessed Kelly performing oral sex on Aaliyah when she was 13 or 14 years old on a tour bus they were traveling on.
Lawyers for R. Kelly walk out of a Brooklyn courthouse as jury deliberations continue Lawyers for R. Kelly walk out of a Brooklyn courthouse as jury deliberations continue, September 27, 2021.Spencer Platt/Getty Images


see also​



Kelly and Aaliyah in a still from the Surviving R. Kelly Lifetime documentary.

R. Kelly married Aaliyah at 15 because he thought she was pregnant: ex-tour manager​





Defense attorneys called several witnesses as the trial wound down, relying on Kelly’s employees and other people whose careers were closely tethered to the former star to cast him in a more positive light.
One defense witness, music consultant Julius Darrington, testified he worked with Kelly for several years prior to his arrest — and did not see Kelly abuse women while he worked with him in his Chicago studio and while they traveled across the country for shows.
Under cross-examination, Darrington said he had no knowledge of what Kelly did while he was not with him.
An attorney for Kelly, Devereaux Cannick, said after the verdict that they would likely file an appeal, but did not provide a timeline for when that could happen.
Gloria Allred, who represents one of Kelly’s victims, spoke outside the Brooklyn courthouse after the verdict and read a statement written by her client, identified as Sonja.
“I’m happy with the verdict, and thankful that the jury listened to us. I’ve been hiding from Robert Kelly in fear, due to threats made against me, and I’m ready to start loving my life free from fear, and to start the healing process,” Sonja wrote.
Allred added: “R. Kelly is the worst for many reasons. First, he used his power of his celebrity to recruit vulnerable underage girls.”
Kelly opted to not take the stand in his own defense. But he defended his actions in a trainwreck 2019 interview with CBS News’ Gayle King, where he hysterically proclaimed his innocence, saying he was “fighting for my f–king life.”
Supporters of R. Kelly gather in front of a Brooklyn courthouse as jury deliberations in the federal trial against the performer continue on September 27, 2021 Supporters of R. Kelly gather in front of a Brooklyn courthouse as jury deliberations in the federal trial against the performer continue on September 27, 2021.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The bizarre sit-down came after a number of his victims shared their stories for the damning docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”
“How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I’ve been through, in my way, way past to hold somebody?” he told King before beginning to cry.
“Guys, use your common sense, forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me, hate me if you want, love me if you want, but just use your common sense, how stupid would it be?”
R. Kelly poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested for $161,663 in unpaid child support March 6, 2019. R. Kelly poses for a mugshot after being arrested for $161,663 in unpaid child support, March 6, 2019.Cook County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images
A number of the disgraced singer’s supporters — most of whom sat in a courtroom with a video feed of the trial throughout its duration — gathered in a park across the street from the courthouse after the verdict to show their support for Kelly.
One of them, a man named DeAngelo Brister who claimed to be Kelly’s godson, said the verdict was based on faulty evidence.
“This is totally unjustified. The testimony from his accusers — they didn’t add up. There were holes involved in it,” Brister said. “They found someone guilty on word of mouth.”
Kelly faces more criminal charges outside New York.
He was charged by state prosecutors in Minnesota with engaging in prostitution with a minor and by federal prosecutors in Illinois for child pornography and obstruction.
 

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004

R. Kelly may face life in prison at sex-trafficking sentencing today​



By
Elizabeth Rosner and

Mark Lungariello


June 29, 2022 7:00am
Updated









R. Kelly is set to be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court on sexual abuse charges






Fallen R&B star R. Kelly could spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced Wednesday on charges he sexually abused multiple women, young girls and boys.
Kelly, 55, is set to appear in Brooklyn federal court after he was found guilty in September on nine charges, including racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which bars the transportation across state lines of women and girls for an “immoral purpose.”
The hearing is set to start at 10:30 a.m. and several women, including some who testified at Kelly’s trial last year, are expected to speak in court.
Prosecutors have asked Judge Ann Donnelly for a sentence of more than 25 years for the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, whose full name is Robert Kelly — saying in a sentencing memo that Kelly relied on his fame and money to “both carry and conceal his crimes.”
R. Kelly is set to be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court on sexual abuse chages. R. Kelly is set to be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court on sexual abuse chages.Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File
“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said in a 31-page sentencing memo.
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Prosecutors sought to portray Kelly during the trial as a predator with a pattern of abuse over decades who showed no remorse for what he had done.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence Kelly to over 25 years in prison. Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence Kelly to over 25 years in prison.REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
“Indeed, the defendant’s decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to confirm his conduct — no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to other — to the structures of the law,” the memo said.
Jennifer Bonjean, an attorney who has also represented disgraced actor and comedian Bill Cosby, has asked for a sentence of less than 14 years.
The defense team tried to portray accusers who testified as scorned fans, and said Kelly shouldn’t get more time for abusing a victim referred to in court as “Jane” whose parents pushed for his help with her music career.
“The record shows that Jane’s parents directed Jane to lie to the defendant about her age and then encouraged her to seduce him,” Kelly’s attorneys said in a court memo.
There were some 45 witnesses called during the trial, with tearful testimony from victim Jerhonda Pace, who described a confrontation with an enraged Kelly, who she said smacked her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
One witness testified to walking in on Kelly performing oral sex on singer Aaliyah when she would have been just 13 or 14 years old.
R. Kelly with Aaliyah Witnesses in Kelly’s trial described details about his marriage to singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old.LIFETIME
Witnesses described the scheme for Kelly to illegally marry Aaliyah in 1994, when she was just 15 and he was 27. Kelly allegedly feared the girl was pregnant and married her with the idea it would help him avoid charges for having sex with a minor, and bar her from testifying against him. A former member of Kelly’s entourage testified he bribed an official to get Aaliyah a fake idea showing she was 18 so the marriage could go forward.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at 22 years old.
Kelly is also facing charges in Minnesota and federal charges of pornography and obstruction in Illinois.
The Grammy winner didn’t testify in his own defense during his New York trial, but famously broke into hysterics during a 2019 CBS News interview with Gayle King and denied any wrongdoing. The interview came in the wake of the series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which documented a slew of the allegations against him.
He may choose to make a statement at his sentencing Wednesday.
With Post wires





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Predator R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in sex trafficking case​



By
Elizabeth Rosner and

Mark Lungariello


June 29, 2022 3:10pm
Updated









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He’s a caged bird now.
R. Kelly, the Grammy-winning singer and icon of ’90s pop stardom, was slapped with 30 years in prison Wednesday for sexually abusing women and underage girls and boys over the course of decades.
The fallen “I Believe I Can Fly” singer did not react as US District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the stiff sentence after hearing to statements from seven victims during an hours-long proceeding in Brooklyn federal court.
“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” said Jovante Cunningham, who also testified at Kelly’s trial, speaking in a steady voice and staring directly at him.
“You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification,” she told Kelly.
R. Kelly pictured in a Chicago courtroom in 2019. Getty Images
Another victim told him, “You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel.
“Do you remember that?” she asked while turning to Kelly, who did not look up.
Kelly, 55, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted on nine charges, including racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which bars interstate transportation of women and girls for “immoral purposes.”
“I personally don’t think it’s enough, but I’m pleased with it,” Lizzette Martinez, who said she was turned into a “sex slave” after meeting the singer at a Florida mall when she was 17, told reporters at a news conference, referring to the sentence.
Kelly, who wore tan prison garb, dark-rimmed glasses and a mask, declined to make a statement during the hearing because of pending lawsuits.
Prosecutors portrayed him as a serial predator over several decades who used his fame to exploit his victims, and asked the judge for a sentence of more than 25 years.
“R. Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and
the voiceless for his own sexual gratification, while many turned a blind eye,” said Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“With today’s sentence he has finally and appropriately been held accountable for his decades of abuse, exploitation and degradation of teenagers and other vulnerable young people.”
As she handed down what is effectively a life sentence for Kelly, the judge told him, “These victims were disposable to you and you taught them that love is enslavement and violence and humiliation.”
“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” Donnelly said. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years.”
Cunningham, a back-up dancer who testified under the name “Angela,” at Kelly’s trial last fall, said Wednesday that Kelly “took pleasure in humiliating me” and told him, “You are shameless, you are disgusting and you are self-serving.”
”Today we reclaim our names. We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were,” she said, prompting Kelly to briefly glance up at her.
R. Kelly and Aaliyah in a still from the Surviving R. Kelly Lifetime documentary. Kelly married singer Aaliyah in 1994 because he believed he believed she was pregnant, one source testified.LIFETIME
Another victim, going by Jane Doe No. 2, told the so-called King of R&B: “Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
She described how Kelly would return from basketball games with his friends before forcing her to perform oral sex on him. The depraved crooner decided to chat with his attorneys as Doe spoke, prompting her pause, raise her hand and say, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to interrupt his conversation.”
“Now it’s your turn to have your freedom taken from you,” she then continued. “I hope you go to jail for the rest of your life.”
Among the numerous witnesses during the trial was accuser Jerhonda Pace, who said she began a relationship with the singer while she was underage. Once, while he was angry with her, he hit her and pushed her to perform oral sex on him, she told the court.
Another witness testified Kelly illegally married singer Aaliyah in 1994 because he was afraid she was pregnant and he believed their nuptials would block her from testifying against him and shield him from prosecution for having sex with a minor. Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 plane crash, used a forged ID that Kelly’s entourage allegedly obtained by bribing a public official, according to testimony.
Attorneys for the disgraced R&B star asked for a lenient sentence of 10 years or less, claiming he had been raised in an abusive household and was himself the victim of sexual abuse.
Lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, who recently represented disgraced actor and comedian Bill Cosby, told the judge Kelly was sexually abused by a family member and a former landlord and that should be considered “a mitigating factor” in the sentencing.
R. Kelly stands with his lawyers during the sentencing hearing. R. Kelly stands with his lawyers during the sentencing hearing. Reuters Lawyer Jennifer Bonjean said the sexual abuse Kelly suffered at the hands a family member and a former landlord should be considered “a mitigating factor” in the sentencing.Reuters In this frame from video provided by CBS, R. Kelly talks during an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning broadcast Wednesday, March 6, 2019. R. Kelly talks during an interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning” broadcast Wednesday on March 6, 2019. CBS via AP
The multi-platinum selling star is also “functionally illiterate” and had a traumatic, impoverished childhood that included him being shot by a stray .22 bullet and witnessing the death of a childhood friend, who was shoved into a river and drown.
“[Kelly] has been portrayed by the government and the media as a one-dimensional villain, undeserving of any measure of humanity or dignity,” Bonjean wrote. “This Court is charged with considering [Kelly’s] history and characteristics reveal that he is not an evil monster but a complex (unquestionably flawed) human-being who faced overwhelming challenges in childhood that shaped his adult life.”
She said he plans to appeal, telling reporters after Wednesday’s hearing that, “he has regrets. He is sad.”
Kelly’s fiancée, Joycelyn Savage, was among those who submitted letters of support for the Grammy winner. Savage declared she was not a victim of the singer and called the couple’s relationship “amazing.”
Joycelyn Savage girlfriend of R Kelly at the Federal Court Brooklyn, New York, U.S.,  August 2, 2019. Joycelyn Savage, Kelly’s fiancée, threw her support behind the singer.Rashid Umar Abbasi
“The Robert I know is very sweet, gentle, and kind. At the end of the day, he has always made sure that I’m taken care of, and any other women he was with as well,” Savage wrote in her letter to the judge.
“Robert and I are deeply in love and it breaks my heart that the government has created a narrative that I’m a victim.”
In their sentencing memo to the judge, prosecutors wrote that Kelly seemed to believe he was above the law.
“Indeed, [Kelly’s] decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to confirm his conduct – no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others – to the structures of the law,” they wrote.
Kelly didn’t testify during the trial, but famously broke into hysterics during an unhinged 2019 interview with CBS News’ Gayle King. The interview came in the wake of the damning series “Surviving R. Kelly,” which documented a slew of the allegations against him and he proclaimed his innocence and denied accusations he effectively held a woman captive in a cult.
“How stupid would it be for R. Kelly, with all I’ve been through, in my way, way past to hold somebody,” he railed.
“Guys, use your common sense, forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me, hate me if you want, love me if you want, but just use your common sense, how stupid would it be?”
R. Kelly supporters gathered outside Brooklyn Federal Court.Alec Tabak
Kelly is still facing charges in Minnesota of engaging in prostitution with a minor, as well as federal charges in Illinois of pornography and obstruction. His federal trial in Chicago is set to begin Aug. 15.
With Post wires
 

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004





R. Kelly has over $28,000 in his prison account — but not for long​



By
Priscilla DeGregory


September 9, 2022 1:54pm
Updated





R. Kelly
A judge has ordered over $27,000 of R. Kelly's inmate prison money to be seized and held until it can be paid to his victims as restitution. AP


Convicted sex fiend R. Kelly must drain the more than $27,000 he has in his prison commissary account to pay back his victims, a Brooklyn judge ruled Friday.
Federal Judge Ann Donnelly ordered the Bureau of Prisons to turn over $27,828 from Kelly’s inmate trust account in a Chicago lockup to be put in an interest-accruing account until she determines how much money should be paid in restitution to his victims.
The BOP froze the money last month after prosecutors noted that Kelly had “accumulated substantial funds in his inmate trust account,” to the tune of $28,328.24.
R. Kelly R. Kelly’s lawyers argued that the Bureau of Prisons’ initial move to freeze the money was illegal and asked for the funds to be immediately returned.AFP via Getty Images
Brooklyn federal Judge Ann Donnelly Judge Ann Donnelly
Kelly’s lawyers argued “that the BOP impermissibly ‘confiscated’ the funds,” urging the “immediate return” of the money.
But Donnelly noted in a decision from Friday that Kelly — who was convicted last year in New York of sexually abusing women, girls and boys for decades — still hadn’t paid nearly $150,000 in fines and fees ordered at his sentencing.
“The government is entitled to the defendant’s funds because he owes substantial fines,” Donnelly wrote.
“I am also mindful of victims’ rights ‘to full and timely restitution,'” Donnelly said.
“Once restitution is determined by the court, the Clerk of Court should apply the monies held in the interest-bearing account first to the $900 special assessment and then to the restitution judgment,” Donnelly ordered.
Kelly’s lawyer Jennifer Bonjean told The Post, “We plan to appeal.”
In June, Kelly — whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly — was sentenced to 30 years in prison in the New York case.
The 55-year-old disgraced R&B singer is on trial in Chicago in a separate case accusing him of videotaping himself having sex with multiple children, luring children for sex and rigging his 2008 pornography trial.
 

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004



Sexual predator R. Kelly found guilty in federal child porn trial in Chicago​



By
Evan Simko-Bednarski


September 14, 2022 5:27pm
Updated









Today's Video Headlines: 9/14/22






Disgraced R&B star R. Kelly was convicted on federal child pornography charges Wednesday for making videos of himself abusing his 14-year-old goddaughter.
The verdict followed a monthlong trial in Chicago, Kelly’s hometown, where jurors were shown excerpts of the disturbing footage and heard testimony from the victim, now 37, who was identified only as “Jane.”
Jurors deliberated for about 11 hours, beginning on Tuesday afternoon, before returning with a guilty verdict on six of the 13 counts that Kelly had faced, including three child porn charges. In Chicago, a conviction on just one such count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five to 10 years.
It comes on top of a 30-year prison sentence handed to the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer in June after he was found guilty of sex-trafficking and racketeering in a separate federal case in Brooklyn.
R. Kelly R. Kelly was convicted on federal charges of producing child pornography.AP/Antonio Perez
Kelly, 55, was accused of videotaping himself having sex with underage girls, as well as of rigging his 2008 state trial on child porn charges, for which he was acquitted.
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Jurors on Wednesday acquitted of the conspiracy charge alleging he rigged his earlier trial. The jury also found him not guilty of three counts of conspiring to receive child pornography as well as two further enticement charges.


Co-defendant Derrell McDavid, Kelly’s former business manager, was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by rigging the 2008 trial, as well as two counts of receiving child porn. Another co-defendant, Kelly associate Milton Brown, faced a count of conspiring to receive child porn. Both were found not guilty on all counts, the outlet said.


Prosecutors, during the trial, said the “Ignition” singer was “a sexual predator” who had used his fame to prey on underage girls and record the abuse on video.

Flanked by attorneys, Derrel McDavid Co-defendant Derrell McDavid was charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.AP/Ashlee Rezin
“Robert Kelly abused many girls over many years,” Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Pozolo told the jurors, using the fallen star’s full name. “He committed horrible crimes against children. … All these years later, the hidden side of Robert Kelly has come out.”


The evidence against Kelly included graphic videos of the Grammy-winner abusing his teenage goddaughter — who gave damning testimony against him.


“That child, who had no prior sexual experiences in her life, was forced to lay on that floor while that man sitting right over there urinated on her,” Pozolo said in her closing argument. “That degrading act is forever captured on that video. That abuse is forever memorialized.”


Jane testified that Kelly had sex with her “innumerable times,” sometimes along with other teenage girls that he had asked her to recruit.


Kelly’s attorneys, meanwhile, painted the prosecution witnesses as “perjurers, blackmailers and extortionists.”

R. Kelly's defense attorney, Jennifer Bonjean Jennifer Bonjean is R.Kelly’s defense attorney. AP/Ashlee Rezin
Defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean specifically called out Kelly’s ex-girlfriend Lisa Van Allen, who testified she stole a sex tape from the singer — as well as one of his former associates, Charles Freeman, who asked him for $1 million to return an incriminating sex tape. Both testified with immunity.


“They came in here to tell the government’s version of the truth,” Bonjean said during her closing argument Tuesday.
 

The Bobster

Senior News Editor since 2004





R. Kelly’s ex-manager Donnell Russell gets 20 months in prison for harassing rapper’s victim​



By
David Propper


November 17, 2022 6:33pm
Updated



R. Kelly’s former manager was hit with a 20-month prison sentence Thursday for harassing and intimidating a victim of the disgraced hip-hop star.
A federal judge in Brooklyn handed down the sentence to Donnell Russell, the self-appointed manager of Kelly, after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate stalking over the summer.
The Chicago native threatened to publicize sexually explicit photos of the victim, who was connected to the federal racketeering case against Kelly in the same jurisdiction, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The harassment began after she filed a civil lawsuit against Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, and dragged on as it became clear she was also a victim in Kelly’s federal criminal case and could potentially testify.
Kelly was convicted of all nine counts in Brooklyn federal court in 2021 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison earlier this year.




00:13 01:24 Donnell Russell arrives at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on July 20, 2022. Donnell Russell was sentenced to 20 months in prison Thursday.Alec Tabak R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Sept. 17, 2019, in Chicago. Russell was the self-described manager of disgraced hip-hop star R. Kelly. TNS
US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace called the punishment against Russell, 47, a “victory for crime victims.”


“For more than a year, the defendant engaged in a vicious campaign to harass, humiliate and threaten the victim in order to force her to dismiss her lawsuit against R. Kelly and stop speaking publicly about him,” Peace said in a statement.


“The punishment meted out to the defendant today is a victory for crime victims, particularly those of sexual assault and abuse, who are often reluctant to come forward to law enforcement or pursue legal recourse, given the trauma and fear of retaliation associated with publicly discussing their experiences.”


Federal prosecutors said when Russell pleaded guilty that he could’ve faced as many as five years behind bars.


From November 2018 to February 2020, the Kelly loyalist originally threatened to reveal the sexually explicit pics of the victim and her sexual history in a bid to stop the civil lawsuit against the “I Believe I Can Fly,” singer, the feds said.

Donnell Russell arrives at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse on July 20, 2022 Russell sent intimating texts to the victim and her mother, the feds said.Alec Tabak
Russell even mailed a letter to her lawyer in November 2018 with cropped nude photos of the victim, prosecutors said.


The text of the note read, “the next two pictures have been cropped for the sake of not exposing her extremities to the world, yet!!!”


The next month Russell, using the alias Colon Dunn, sent a flurry of cruel texts to the victim and her mother with the same nude photos and wrote, “Just a sample. We will seek criminal charges. You’ve been warned,” and additionally said, “Publishing soon,” prosecutors said.


He also divulged, “[T]his is Colon.”


At the start of 2019, Russell again texted the victim and her mother, warning, “Pull the plug or you will be exposed.”





The same month, he started up a Facebook page that defended Kelly and posted texts between the hip-hop artist and victim with the same private photos. Then a year later, he again showed the sexually explicit photos during live interviews on YouTube with vloggers who supported Kelly, prosecutors said.


Russell’s ill-advised backing of Kelly also got him in trouble when he was convicted in July of a federal charge for calling in an active-shooter threat to a private Manhattan club that was scheduled to show a screening of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” in 2018.
 
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