R. Kelly’s legal troubles are only continuing. A trial for the singer’s manager began yesterday, alleging Donnell Russell called in a shooting threat to a movie theater to thwart a premiere screening of Surviving R. Kelly. Per the Associated Press, the trial began in Manhattan federal court with prosecutors detailing Russell’s alleged threat. “He knew his words would sabotage the event,” said assistant U.S. attorney Lara Pomerantz, recounting Russell’s December 2018 call to a Chicago movie theater. Russell allegedly told the theater someone in the crowd was planning to shoot during the screening, prompting the premiere, and a panel including Kelly accusers, to be canceled. Meanwhile, Russell’s attorney, Michael Freedman, emphasized that Russell’s call to the theater was one of many, and argued the evidence falls short of meriting a conviction. But Pomerantz also noted that Russell had been texting with someone in attendance at the theater, telling her police could be coming. Per Pomerantz, phone records in evidence show that Russell called the theater nine times.
The trial comes shortly after Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex crimes. The conviction, which came down last year, represented the most notable instance of justice against Kelly for multiple people who came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by the singer. Kelly is next set to face a federal trial in his home city of Chicago beginning August 15 over charges that he sexually abused minors and filmed some of the encounters. That follows a 2008 child-pornography trial in Chicago, in which Kelly was found not guilty.