R. Kelly’s former manager called the Manhattan venue where Surviving R. Kelly was set to premiere, threatening that “there was a person in the theater with a gun prepared to shoot up” this event, federal prosecutors alleged Friday.
Donnell Russell made this threatening call to NeueHouse theater on December 4, 2018 — the night when Lifetime’s docuseries about R. Kelly’s sexual abuse allegations was going to be screened, according to a just-unsealed Manhattan Federal Court complaint. The employee who got Russell’s call then notified police; NeueHouse canceled the event and evacuated the venue.
During an interview with cops last August, Russell said he wanted to prevent the docuseries from airing — and had sent NeueHouse a sketchy “cease and desist” letter to stop it, the Feds allege. Prosecutors claim that when Russell’s missive didn’t work, he called several law enforcement agencies near NeueHouse, as well as the theater.
Russell is one of three men charged in Brooklyn Federal Court earlier this week with allegedly trying to bully an accuser — threatening to release “sexually explicit photos” if she didn’t drop a civil suit against Kelly.
Kelly is awaiting trial for his Brooklyn Federal Court sex trafficking case. One of Kelly’s lawyers, Steve Greenberg, previously insisted that the singer wasn’t involved in any alleged witness intimidation attempts.
“Kelly has nothing to do with this — nothing to do with it at all,” Greenberg said, adding shortly thereafter, “He’s never reached out to a witness, he’s never tried to intimidate a witness.”
Asked for comment on the allegations, Russell’s attorney said in an email, “My practice is never to comment on any case under any circumstances.”
Russell was granted $75,000 bond in each of his federal cases. In granting Russell bond this afternoon, Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang also warned that “he is to refrain from possession of a firearm or bomb.”
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