More charges for one of the defendants connected to singer and alleged serial abuser Robert Sylvester Kelly, 53. Donnell Russell—who was recently charged in an intimidation case–went even further, prosecutors said. He called in a shooting threat at a New York City theater to sabotage a December 4, 2018 screening of the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, according to the newly unsealed federal criminal complaint.
At first, Russell (who was Kelly’s manager) and another person indentifed in court documents as “CC-1” worked on sending the Neuehouse theater in New York a cease and desist letter, investigators said. The show was still going to go on, however. Things escalated. Donnell Russell allegedly called both the New York Police Department’s Midtown South Precinct 1.4 miles from the theater, and a fire department-related organization called the Fire Bell Club. (He tried to block his phone before calling the cops, authorities said.)
At about 7:37 p.m. that night, he reached a Neuehouse employee on the phone, and asserted that there was someone at the theater with a gun, who was going to shot up the establishment, authorities said. That employee told security guards, a manager, and 911 about the threat. The screening got canceled and visitors were evacuated, as widely noted in media coverage.
All told, Kelly–better known under the name R. Kelly–was an allegedly prolific abuser of women and girls. He faces charges in federal courts in New York and Illnois, and state court in Illinois. He has emphatically denied wrongdoing, but the show Surviving R. Kelly, which preceded the current criminal charges, did no favors for the singer, who has long faced allegations of abuse.
Russell has no attorney of record in the unsealed federal case. He faces a count each of conspiracy to threaten physical harm by interstate communication, and threatening physical harm by interstate communication.
[Image via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images]
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