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Judge Gives R. Kelly Fan Charged with Threatening Prosecutors a New Chance to Stay Out of Jail — After Feds Say He Flouted Rules of Release

 
R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courtroom in a 2019 file photo. (Image via Antonio Perez/pool via Getty Images.)

R. Kelly appears in an Illinois state courtroom in a 2019 file photo. (Image via Antonio Perez/pool via Getty Images.)

A YouTuber accused of threatening R. Kelly’s prosecutors appeared to be on the brink of being sent to jail pending trial, but a federal judge on Thursday gave him another chance to obey court orders.

Chicago resident Christopher Gunn, the man behind the YouTube pageDeBoSki Gunn,” pleaded not guilty last week to threatening the female prosecutors who convicted Kelly of racketeering and sex trafficking offenses. Last month on June 25, Gunn was arrested outside of his home and allowed to keep his freedom, subject to certain restrictions, on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

U.S. District Judge Rachel Kovner ordered Gunn released to house incarceration on July 1, requiring him to “avoid all contact, directly or indirectly, with any person who is or may be a victim or witness in the investigation or prosecution.” That prohibition included “social media contact.” He was also barred from using illegal drugs, and his custodian was supposed to immediately notify the court if he violated a condition of release.

Prosecutors said that Gunn quickly flouted the rules by, among other things, intimidating witnesses on his YouTube page.

“For example, on or about July 7, 2022, the defendant publicly shared a video titled ‘Informant 1 Threatening My Life’ on the ‘Deboski Gunn’ YouTube account which, the investigation has identified as belonging to the defendant,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Olatokunbo Olaniyan wrote in a letter to the court. “Based on the context of this video, as well as other publicly available content on the ‘Deboski Gunn’ YouTube account, it is believed that the defendant’s use of “Informant 1” is a reference to the person referred to as ‘Individual-1’ in the complaint.”

Other posts like it soon followed, prosecutors say.

“In a July 11, 2022 publicly available video posted on the ‘Deboski Gunn’ YouTube account, the defendant addressed an individual whom the defendant referred to as ‘part of [defendant’s] criminal case’ and ‘allegedly a witness in that criminal case,'” the prosecutor said. “On or about July 25, 2022, the defendant shared a post on the community tab of the ‘Deboski Gunn” YouTube Account where another social media user states, in sum and substance and in part, that an individual the defendant previously accused of being Individual-1 ‘should be very scared [the defendant] is threatening to sue’ and advising that ‘the only right [the witness has] is to remain silent.'”

In the letter, prosecutors said that Gunn was “smoking what appears to be a marijuana cigarette” in one post and was seen outside of his house in another.

U.S. District Judge Hector Gonzalez, a Joe Biden appointee now presiding over the case, appeared poised to revoke Gunn’s bond and send him to jail over the violations.

Though he acknowledged another court described the detention issue as a “close call,” Gonzalez said: “It’s apparent to me that the defendant has been flouting those conditions and has not taken those conditions remotely seriously.”

At that point, Gunn’s public defender Allegra W. Glashausser interjected one more argument onto the record, insisting there was a misunderstanding. The judge had believed that Gunn walked across the street and entered another person’s house. Glashausser claimed her client was simply walking in circles and exercising to heal from a leg injury.

“For some reason, Mr. Gunn and his mother misunderstood the rules and chose to exercise in this small area,” Glashausser said. “He now understands that it was not allowed. It was not brought to his attention to the pre-trial officers until last week.”

After that exchange, the judge made an about-face.

“Let me not bury the lede: I was on the brink of revoking the defendant’s bond and remanding him,” Gonzalez said, adding that defense counsel persuaded him to rule otherwise.

But Gonzalez tightened the conditions of Gunn’s confinement, banning Gunn from using any Wi-Fi enabled device like a smartphone.

“I want to give you fair notice: I am not going to tolerate any deviation from these conditions,” Gonzalez told Gunn, warning that any other violation would send him to jail.

Asked whether he understood, Gunn replied: “I do.”

The case combining celebrity culture and social media attracted a wide audience on the court’s public phone line, where more than 100 people dialed into the hearing. Listeners failed to mute their phones, leading to frequent disruptions. One shouted: “FREE R. KELLY,” who is now serving a 30-year sentence and may face further punishment if convicted of child pornography offenses.

Read the prosecution’s letter:

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.