Federal prosecutors have accused three men connected to singer R. Kelly of threatening, intimidating, and trying to bribe women who accused the disgraced star of sexual abuse.
According to NBC New York News, one of the men firebombed a victim’s father’s car.
A complaint filed by attorneys in Brooklyn, says Richard Airline, Jr., Donnell Russell, and Michael Williams each have connections with R. Kelly and tried to coax several of the accusers involved in Kelly’s racketeering case. Arline says he is a longtime friend of Kelly, Russell was a manager, friend, and adviser to the singer, and Williams was related to a publicist who represented Kelly at a point in time.
“These crimes shock the conscience,” said Peter Fitzhugh, a special agent-in-charge with Homeland Security Investigations, which worked the case along with the NYPD. “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.”
Despite the piling evidence against him, the Grammy-award winning singer denies all abuse allegations against him and has pleaded not guilty to the dozens of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York.
Prosecutors claim Arline went as far as offering one accuser $500,000 to “be quiet” earlier this year, which she then informed the authorities. Apparently, there are several recorded calls between Arline and the accuser, including one where Arline allegedly told her he tried to talk to Kelly about the plan.
Russell was accused of repeated harassment of another accuser and her mother after they filed a civil suit against Kelly. Russell threatened them by saying he would release sexually explicit photos of her if she didn’t drop her lawsuit. He later published them after the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary aired on Lifetime and then again during a YouTube live vlog in January.
As for Williams, prosecutors allege that on June 11, he set fire to an SUV that belonged to the father of a victim. Beforehand his internet browser revealed his search on detonating fertilizer and diesel fuel, as well as witness intimidation and tampering and countries that don’t extradite suspects to the United States.