The manager of R. Kelly was charged Friday for allegedly making a threatening phone call to a Manhattan theater that was screening a docuseries about the sex abuse allegations against the musician.
Donnell Russell, 45, was charged in two counts with threatening physical harm by interstate communication, and conspiracy to do the same, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.
The charges stem from an alleged Dec. 4, 2018 call Russell made threatening a shooting at NeueHouse, which thereby halted the screening of Surviving R. Kelly, according to authorities. Multiple victims featured in the docuseries were to attend the event. Surviving R. Kelly explores allegations that Kelly engaged in abusive sexual relationships with minor girls and adult women. He has since been charged in multiple states with numerous sex crimes and is currently in jail.
“Threats of gun violence aimed at intimidating and silencing victims of sexual abuse are unlawful as well as unacceptable,” acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “We are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting such crimes.”
Russell, according to authorities, tried legal means — such as sending a cease and desist order — before he allegedly called the theater and told an employee an armed individual would open fire if the screening was held.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Russell is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Friday afternoon.