Three men are facing federal charges for intimidating and threatening alleged victims of R. Kelly’s abuse, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced.
One of the men, Richard Arline, Jr., is “a self-proclaimed longtime friend of Kelly,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is accused of bribing an alleged victim of R. Kelly, allegedly offering the woman $500,000 “to keep her from cooperating with the government.”
“The defendants are separately charged with engaging in multiple crimes that were intended to undermine and subvert the integrity of the criminal-justice system and victimize the women who have come forward with serious allegations of criminal conduct against the defendant, R. Kelly,” Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement.
“Efforts to illegally influence pending federal cases, whether through threats of violence, intimidation, damage to property, or payments to buy a potential witness’s silence, will not be tolerated.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the second man, Donnell Russell, is “a self-described manager, advisor and friend of Kelly.” Russell allegedly “threatened to reveal sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe, [an alleged victim in the Kelly case], and to publicly reveal her sexual history if she did not withdraw her lawsuit against Kelly and ‘cease her participation and association with the organizers’ of a ‘negative campaign’ against Kelly.’” Russell also allegedly harassed Jane Doe and her mother with letters, text messages, and internet posts.
The third man, Michael Williams, is said to be related to a former R. Kelly publicist. Williams is accused of “set[ting] fire to an SUV parked outside a residence in Florida where an alleged victim in the Kelly case and others were staying.”
R. Kelly is facing charges in the Eastern District of New York. He’s accused of sexually exploiting underage girls and coercing them into illegal sexual activity. Kelly has pled not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin on September 29.