R. Kelly Associate Pleads Guilty to Arson

By Matthew Strauss

Michael Williams, a man who is said to be related to a former R. Kelly publicist, has pleaded guilty to arson in a Brooklyn federal court, according to the Daily News. His alleged affiliation with Kelly—who has pleaded not guilty to sex abuse charges in the same federal court—was reportedly not discussed during the court appearance.

Williams had been accused of “set[ting] fire to an SUV parked outside a residence in Florida where an alleged victim in the Kelly case and others were staying.” According to the Daily News, he will be sentenced on October 5 and faces up to 71 months in prison.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced the criminal charges against Williams and two other R. Kelly affiliates last August. One of the other men, Richard Arline, Jr., pleaded guilty to trying to bribe an R. Kelly accuser into silence. Arline, who is “a self-proclaimed longtime friend of Kelly,” told a judge in February that he “and another person offered Jane Doe money for her to not go forward with her complaint or testimony against Robert Kelly.”

The third affiliate, Donnell Russell, is “a self-described manager, advisor and friend of Kelly.” Back in November, CNN reported that Russell, who pleaded not guilty to harassing and threatening Kelly accusers, was in the middle of plea negotiations.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)

Crisis Text Line
http://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741