Three men believed to have ties with R. Kelly were arrested and charged Tuesday (August 11) on accusations “relating to their efforts to harass, intimidate, threaten or corruptly influence individuals named as alleged victims” of the disgraced musician, according to court documents.
The arrests come amid the ongoing case against the R&B legend, who faces allegations of racketeering and several dozen counts of sexual and emotional abuse against various young women and girls, two of which accused the star of exposing them herpes without their knowledge. He also faces separate charges in Chicago federal court.
As NBC News reported, Richard Arline, Jr., 31, Donnell Russell, 45, and Michael Williams, 37, were all charged in three separate schemes to threaten Kelly’s alleged victims into silence or by way of bribery.
Arline, Jr., a “self-proclaimed longtime friend of Kelly,” supposedly tried to pay one of Kelly’s victims $500,000 in an attempt to get one victim not to cooperate with federal authorities. Additionally, per a wiretapped call, Arline Jr. said he’d spoken with Kelly while he was still detained via a “three-way call with another individual.”
Russell, “a self-described manager, adviser, and friend of Kelly,” is accused of threatening to release sexually explicit images of another victim if she refused to withdraw her civil suit against the “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner.
Williams, whom prosecutors said “is a family member” and an ex-publicist for Kelly, allegedly set a car on fire outside another victim’s Florida residence out of intimidation.
Kelly, who remains jailed since July 2019, has continuously denied claims of sexual misconduct over the years. When asked for comment, Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told Vulture, “Kelly has nothing to do with this — nothing to do with it at all.”
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