R. Kelly’s former manager will now serve time in prison for calling in a threat during the premiere of the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.”
According to CBS, Donnell Russell was sentenced to one year in federal prison on Monday (Dec. 19). He told a Manhattan judge that he “made bad judgements” during the short period of time he spent working alongside R. Kelly. “I’m not a horrible person,” he said. Prosecutors argued that not only did Russell make the threatening phone call, but he also worked to suppress abuse allegations against the former R&B singer before ultimately phoning in the warning that prompted a shutdown during the documentary’s 2018 premiere.
“I was happy that it ended,” said Russell during Monday’s court appearance of the documentary screening. “I didn’t question how it ended.” His defense argued that due to an influx of calls to the theater that day, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove he committed the crime. In July, Russell was convicted of threatening physical harm through interstate communication, however, he was acquitted of conspiracy. Just days shy of that verdict, the former manager pled guilty to an interstate stalking charge against one of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse accusers. Last month, a Brooklyn federal judge sentenced him to 20 months in prison for not only sending threatening messages to the woman, but also later publishing explicit photos of her online.
During Monday’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe declared that Russell participated in “serious criminal conduct” in a “misguided attempt to protect someone who was a prolific abuser.” In June, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering charges in a Brooklyn federal court. Additionally, the denounced entertainer was convicted of producing child pornogrraphy and enticing girls for sex. He is scheduled to be sentenced for that crime on Feb. 23.