R. Kelly’s associate who threatened a witness sentenced to 8 years in prison

A New York judge sentenced an associate of the American singer R. Kelly to 8 years in prison for having threatened a witness who was going to participate in the recent trial against the artist, who was found guilty of organized crime and sex trafficking .

Specifically, Judge Ann Donnelly, of the federal court in Brooklyn, sentenced Michael Williams to 96 months in prison for setting fire to a vehicle in front of the residence of a victim of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse, who was scheduled to testify at the trial, held last September.

“In a violent act designed to instill fear and prevent a witness from testifying at trial, Williams set fire to a vehicle in the middle of the night when it was parked in front of a residence occupied by four adults and two children,” he explained in a statement. New York’s Eastern District Attorney Breon Peace.

“Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermines the very fabric of the judicial system and will never be tolerated,” he added.

Williams is one of three people associated with R Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, who were arrested in August 2020 for harassing and intimidating victims of the organized crime case against the singer.

Richard Arline, 31, and Donnell Russell, 45, were also arrested.

The prosecution maintains that Arline considers himself a “lifelong friend of R. Kelly”, while Russel describes himself as a “manager, advisor and friend” of the main suspect and Williams is a relative of a person who worked as publicist for the person in charge of “I Believe I Can Fly”.

R. Kelly was accused by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York with crimes of organized crime, coercion and transporting women and girls to carry out illegal sexual activities in the United States for two decades, charges similar to those he faces in Chicago, where he was behind bars since his arrest in 2019 until last June.

In the New York trial, the prosecution interrogated at least 10 women who said they had been abused by the 54-year-old artist for four weeks, and dozens of other witnesses who detailed a continuous pattern of abuse against both his followers and against female followers. their partners, some of them minors.

R. Kelly, who faces a prison term of several decades, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2022.