R. Kelly’s ex-manager charged for gun threat that canceled ‘Surviving’ doc
Minutes after the screening began, two anonymous callers to the theatre threatened that someone had a gun.
R. Kelly’s former manager was charged Friday for calling in a gun threat to a media screening of Surviving R. Kelly early in 2018.
Donnell Russell, 45, has been charged with two counts of threatening physical harm by interstate communication, and conspiracy to do the same, according to the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors say he called in a gun threat to the NeueHouse theater in New York City in an attempt to prevent the screening of the Lifetime documentary on Dec. 4, 2018.
As theGrio previously reported, the event was attended by several Kelly accusers and #MeToo supporters who were prepared to host a Q&A about the alleged accusations against the R&B hitmaker. #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and at least seven of Kelly’s alleged victims attended the event, including his ex-wife, Drea Kelly.
According to reports, 15 minutes after the documentary began, two anonymous callers to the theatre threatened that someone had a gun, prompting an evacuation and ultimate cancellation of the screening.
Drea Kelly told Variety at the time that she co-signed speculation that the gun threat was connected to the artist.
“I can’t speak to what he would or would not do because I don’t know what his mindset is right now,” she told Variety. “But I would say that I don’t believe in happenstance, I don’t believe that anything is a coincidence. I do believe that in some shape, form or fashion it is connected to him.”
She added, “Now, whether he orchestrated it or not, that I cannot say. But I just do not believe in coincidences. Of all the theaters, of all the nights, of all the premiers, it happened with us.”
The latest charges against Russell come days after he and two other Kelly associates were charged for using intimidation and bribes to influence alleged victims in a racketeering case against R. Kelly in New York.
R. Kelly is also facing sex crimes charges in Chicago, where he is currently jailed and awaiting trail. After the coronavirus pandemic hit America, he asked a judge for bail in April in fear of contracting the potentially deadly virus.
U.S District Judge Ann Donnelly denied the request on April 7, concluding that she had “no compelling reasons” to release Kelly and that he was still a flight risk, according to USA Today.
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