R. Kelly‘s manager has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for stalking one of the R&B singer’s sexual assault victims in order to silence her.
Donell Russell, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court in July to interstate stalking after he used phone calls, emails and texts to harass and intimidate the victim and her mother, identified only as Jane Doe.
The incidents occurred from 2018 through February 2020, with Russell attempting to coerce the Jane Doe victim into backing out of testifying by sending letters written on behalf of R. Kelly to her lawyer with cropped photos of her nude attached. He then sent the same photos to the victim’s mother with messages such as: “Publishing soon” and “You’ve been warned.”
“Russell used threats, harassment and intimidation in a deliberate effort to silence one of R. Kelly’s victims and prevent her voice from being heard,” United States Attorney Breon Peace wrote in a statement at the time.
“When his initial effort failed, he continued his vile campaign by sending threatening messages to Jane Doe and her mother, and publishing explicit photos of the victim on the internet before and after Kelly was indicted. As this prosecution makes clear, the defendant’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but it was also criminal and will not be tolerated.”
On Thursday (November 17), a judge sentenced Russell to 20 months behind bars, per Rolling Stone.
Russell will also face sentencing next week related to a violent threat he made against a New York City movie theater that screened Lifetime’s six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. Russell had previously been found guilty of threatening physical harm through interstate communication after he told the theater he’d “shoot up the place” if they showed the bombshell series focused on his client’s predatory sexual assaults.
Donnell Russell’s sentencing comes after R. Kelly was found guilty on nine counts including racketeering, transporting individuals across state lines for illegal sexual activity, coercion and enticement and the transportation of a minor. He was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for those charges, and then faced trial again in his hometown of Chicago, where he was convicted of child pornography charges by a federal jury in September.
“What R. Kelly wanted was to have sex with young girls,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannice Appenteng in closing arguments. “And what the people around him wanted… they wanted to help their boss, including helping him get away with it. You saw how (Kelly) was using her body, flipping her over, throwing her around like she was some rag doll. That’s what this case is about.”