R. Kelly’s manager showed too much loyalty, now he’s paying the consequences

The former manager is due to turn himself in next year
R. Kelly's manager showed too much loyalty, now he's paying the consequences
R. Kelly (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Donnell Russell, R. Kelly’s former manager, was sentenced on Dec. 19 to a year in federal prison for calling in a shooting threat that stopped the screening of the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary in 2018.

Before the guilty verdicts against Kelly, Russell tried to protect the singer by threatening one accuser and then phoned in a shooting threat to the Manhattan premiere of the Lifetime documentary.


The phone call claimed that someone at the event had a gun and was going to fire, which led to the premiere being canceled and people evacuating the building.

Russell was convicted in July 2022 for threatening physical harm through interstate communication connected to the theater threat but was acquitted of conspiracy.


Days after the verdict, Russell pleaded guilty to an interstate stalking charge that involved one of Kelly’s sexual abuse accusers. In November, a federal judge sentenced Russell to 20 months in prison for conduct that included sending threatening messages to the woman and later posting explicit photos of her online.

Russell is due to turn himself in next year to serve his sentence in both cases simultaneously.

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