/  07.21.2022

Yesterday (July 20) marked the beginning of a trial that sees R. Kelly‘s manager facing threat charges. According to federal prosecutors, Donnell Russell called NeueHouse Madison Square, a Manhattan venue that was set to host a screening of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly.” It was on that call that Russell allegedly threatened to shoot up the venue, which prompted an event cancellation. Assistant US Attorney Laura Pomerantz further expressed this to jurors during opening statements:

“The call was short. The defendant was to the point. And he was terrifying. Someone at the event had a gun and was going to shoot up the place. … He wanted to keep these women quiet and he succeeded. His threat worked … The women did not speak that night. That was because the defendant picked up the phone and made that threat about an active shooter in a crowded New York City theater.”

Pomerantz also stated that Russell’s intention to sabotage the event was fueled by fears that such a screening would negatively affect R. Kelly‘s finances:

“If R. Kelly couldn’t get hired to perform … couldn’t have his music sold, that hurt the defendant’s bottom line.”

Russell’s attorney Michael Freedman said that while Russell did make calls to the theater, no recording exists that would prove the prosecutors’ claims. In fact, Freedman reportedly claimed that Russell was concerned that the docuseries screening would violate copyright laws.

As previously reported by REVOLT, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years after being convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering — many feel that this judgement was initially spawned by “Surviving R. Kelly.” The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, who also hit the disgraced artist with a $100,000 fine:

“Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control.”

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