Three of R Kelly’s alleged acquaintances have been charged with ‘harassing and intimidating witnesses’ in his criminal case.
The Ignition singer, 53, is currently facing a string of charges, including child pornography, sexual assault and alleged racketeering.
The US Department of Justice released a statement on Thursday, announcing that three men – Richard Arline Jr, Donnell Russell and Michael Williams – have been arrested and charged for attempting to intimidate some of the women involved in the case.
Prosecutors have accused Arline of offering $500k (£383k) to an alleged victim in a bid to stop her co-operating with officials.
While Russell – who has described himself as a manager and friend of the star – ‘attempted to cause emotional distress’ to an alleged victim, as well as her mum.
It has been claimed he threatened to leak explicit pictures of an alleged victim if she didn’t withdraw her accusations.
And Williams reportedly set fire to an SUV parked outside the home of an alleged victim earlier this year.
Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme announced the charges, and said: ‘The defendants are separately charged with engaging in multiple crimes that were intended to undermine and subvert the integrity of the criminal justice system and victimise the women who have come forward with serious allegations of criminal conduct against the defendant R Kelly.
‘Efforts to illegally influence pending federal cases, whether through threats of violence, intimidation, damage to property, or payments to buy a potential witness’s silence, will not be tolerated.’
TMZ states that Kelly has denied any involvement.
His attorney, Steven Greenberg, shared a statement with the publication – which read: ‘Without question, Robert Kelly had nothing to do with any of these alleged acts by those charged.
‘He hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so. No involvement whatsoever.’
Greenberg later posted the same statement on Twitter.
Kelly is currently in prison in Chicago on a string of charges, including sex trafficking, racketeering and child pornography, as well as accusations of sexual exploitation of children.
He has pleaded not guilty to several charges in the states of Illinois, New York and Minnesota.
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