Self-described R. Kelly manager and advisor pleads guilty to interstate stalking

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Self-described manager and advisor to R&B singer R. Kelly pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Brooklyn federal court to interstate stalking a victim in Kelly’s racketeering case. 

Donnell Russell, a 47-year-old Chicago resident, was accused of using “mail, phones and the internet” to “harass and intimidate” Kelly’s victim along with her mother between November 2018 and February 2020, according to a statement released by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. He could face up to five years in prison following his Nov. 17 sentencing if convicted on all charges.

The guilty plea comes after he was convicted Friday of making a phone call threatening gunfire in a Manhattan theater where a Kelly documentary was expected to be screened. He was found guilty by a Manhattan federal court jury.

“Through the use of intimidation tactics, Russell repeatedly and purposefully worked to silence ‘Jane Doe’ from revealing the emotional and physical trauma inflicted on her by R Kelly and his associates. Despite multiple threats, Russell ultimately failed in his efforts and will now face the consequences of his despicable behavior,” said HSI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Patel in a statement.

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Russell is accused of threatening to expose “sexually explicit photographs” of the victim as well as publicly reveal her sexual history if she did not drop her lawsuit against Kelly. 

In November 2018, Russell was said to have sent a letter supposedly written by Kelly to the victim’s then-lawyer, which included “cropped nude photographs” of the victim along with the text, “the next two pictures have been cropped for the sake of not exposing her extremities to the world, yet!!!”

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A month later, Russell allegedly sent the victim a string of texts under the alias, “Colon Dunn,” with the messages saying, “Just a sample. We will seek criminal charges. You’ve been warned,” and “Publishing soon” and “[T]his is Colon.”

Russell then reportedly proceeded to send additional messages in January 2019, texting the victim, “Pull the plug or you will be exposed.” He later opened a Facebook page using the same alias as before, titling the page, “Surviving Lies.” Russell posted screenshots of the text exchange between him and the victim, which included the victim’s explicit photo.

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In January 2020, Russell made two interview appearances showing his support of Kelly through his legal troubles, later posted on YouTube, in which Russell was accused of showing the same explicit photo. 

Kelly is currently in Chicago for his federal sex crimes trial set to open on Aug. 15. He was transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center from his Brooklyn jail after he was sentenced to 30 years behind bars on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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