R. Kelly’s manager faces trial over threat to empty theaters – Billboard

The trial of R. Kelly’s manager opened on Tuesday (July 19) for allegedly canceling a documentary about the singer’s sexual abuse of women and girls. by making a threatening phone call to a crowded theater in Manhattan.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors that Donnell Russell made a creepy short phone call in December 2018 from his Chicago home to the theater, claiming that someone with a gun was intending to shoot at him. crowd watching the Lifetime series “Surviving R. Kelly”.

“He knew his words would ruin the event,” she said.

The phone call prompted an emergency call to the police, who ordered an evacuation that forced the cancellation of the premiere, including a live discussion that included some of the women featured in the documentary. Whether.

“The defendant wanted to keep the women quiet,” Pomerantz said in Manhattan federal court. She added that Russell was motivated by a desire to protect the lucrative career of the Grammy-winning musician, selling multiple platinum records.

Kelly, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison last month, was convicted last year of fraud and sex trafficking.

Defense attorney Michael Freedman told jurors they would exonerate Russell if they studied the evidence.

Freedman said there were a lot of phone calls to the cinema on the day of the movie and the juries would “have to decide what it all means and if so, what it proves about the client.” mine”.

He said there was no recording of the phone threat so jurors could not hear the voice that made it. But he added that there was not enough evidence to prove Russell guilty.

Adrian Krasniqi, who works at the 25th Street location, testified that he received the threatening call less than an hour after a man claiming to be a member of Kelly’s legal team called and said the department The documentary infringes on Kelly’s name and should not be shown. He said the caller had a deep, professional voice.

Krasniqi said the call that followed consisted of a low-pitched man with “slang, like a thug,” saying in a very serious and very blunt way that “someone has a gun and they’re going to shoot this place.” .”

Upon cross-checking, Krasniqi said he believes the caller has a Brooklyn accent, which he is familiar with because he lives in Brooklyn. He said he also thought the caller was outdoors when he made the threat.

Pomerantz said Russell showed his guilt in part through communicating with a female accomplice who was at the theater at the time.

She said that Russell sent the woman a message to say that the police would probably be at the theater shortly before they arrived. And he then asked her to delete the text, even though she never did, the prosecutor said.

Pomerantz said phone records presented as evidence would show that Russell called the cinema nine times on the day of the movie.

In a separate case involving Kelly, a fan of the performer pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court to allegations he threatened prosecutors during his abuse trial. Kelly sex. Court papers cite a video of defendant Christopher Gunn saying, “If Kellz goes down, everyone will go down.”

A message was left with Gunn’s attorney seeking comment.

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https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/r-kelly-manager-trial-over-threat-1235116168/ R. Kelly’s manager faces trial over threat to empty theaters – Billboard

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