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Donnell Russell, R. Kelly’s former manager, was convicted this past Friday, July 22, with charges that originated from a gun threat he made during the December 2018 screening of “Surviving R. Kelly.


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The manager was found guilty of threatening physical harm through interstate communication. 

Federal investigators revealed that the former manager made the threat to the New York theater from his Chicago home. 

His sentencing will be in November 2022, and he will face up to five years in prison. 

Furthermore, he was acquitted of conspiracy charges. Several of Kelly’s victims and their families attended a private screening of “Surviving R. Kelly” at New York’s NeueHouse Madison Square.

In December 2018, the theater was later forced to evacuate and cancel when Russell called and threatened to “shoot up the place” if the screening continued.

Lara Pomerantz, Assistant US Attorney, had said during the short trial, 

“The call was short. The defendant was to the point. And he was terrifying. Someone at the event had a gun and was going to shoot up the place. He wanted to keep these women quiet, and he succeeded. His threat worked.”

In the unsealed complaint that is publicly available, Russell had first sent a fake “cease” letter to NeueHouse. 

In a letter, the former manager insisted that the docuseries violated Kelly’s copyright. When it went unanswered, along with several failed attempts to contact New York law enforcement, Russell made the threatening phone call. 

Federal agents then traced the call to a Chicago landline associated with Russell’s home address.

After being sentenced to decades in prison, R&B singer R. Kelly was placed on suicide watch for his safety, earlier this July. 

However, Kelly’s legal team claims the special treatment was “cruel and unconstitutional.”

R. Kelly had officially been removed from suicide watch. The R&B singer’s attorneys immediately argued that placing him on suicide watch was “solely for punitive purposes.”

Meanwhile, government attorneys have put out a statement following the suicide watch removal: 

“Following a clinical assessment, plaintiff Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as ‘R. Kelly,’ was removed from suicide watch as of this morning, July 5, 2022. Because plaintiff has already been removed from suicide watch, there is nothing more that the court can do for him.”

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