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R. Kelly Returns To Court For Hearing On Sex Abuse Allegations

Source: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty

Another member of R. Kelly’s entourage has been convicted and is facing prison time. Donnell Russell, who is his former manager, was found guilty of calling the NeueHouse Madison Square during the Surviving R. Kelly premiere with an active shooter threat.

On July 22, Russell was found guilty of one count of threatening physical harm by interstate communication in Manhattan Federal Court, The New York Post reported. He could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

During the three-day trial, lawyers said Donnell Russell had been calling the New York City theater from his home phone in Chicago on Dec. 4, 2018.

Before issuing the threat, he had been calling the theater throughout the day. He was calling and claiming that the documentary violated copyright laws and threatened legal action. Since he was unsuccessful, he disguised his voice during a call right before the premiere and said someone in the audience had a gun. He claimed that this person has plans to “shoot up” the venue.

“The call was short. The defendant was to the point. And he was terrifying,” Assistant US Attorney Lara Pomerantz said in opening arguments. “Someone at the event had a gun and was going to shoot up the place.”

This call led to police being called. They then ordered that the venue be evacuated and the event be cancelled. After the Surviving R. Kelly premiere, a panel featuring women who starred in the documentary was also scheduled.

Adrian Krasniqi, who works at NeueHouse Madison Square, said he answered the gun threat call less than an hour after the call about the Lifetime doc violating copyright laws, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Pomerantz said that phone records show that Russell called the theater nine times that day. Russell was communicating with a woman in the building who was helping him carry out his plan, lawyers said.

Russell will be sentenced on Nov. 21, 2022.

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