A Georgia man involved with a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R Kelly told police the singer’s manager threatened him.
Timothy Savage told an officer on January 3 that Don Russell had texted him saying it would be best for him and his family if the documentary didn’t air, according to a Henry County police report.
Savage said he and his wife were involved with Lifetime’s ‘Surviving R Kelly’ series. The series, which aired earlier this month, looks at the singer’s history and allegations that he has sexually abused women and girls. He has denied wrongdoing.
Russell called Savage while the officer was there and Savage put the phone on speaker so the officer could listen, the police report says. It went on to say that Russell accused Savage of lying to Lifetime and said that if Savage continued to support the series, Russell and Kelly would be forced to release information that would show Savage was a liar and that would ruin him, his reputation, his business and his family.
Contact information for Russell could not be immediately found.
The report says the case is being forwarded to the criminal investigations division for review.
In Kelly’s hometown Chicago, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed reporters on Tuesday afternoon after her office had been inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary, some tied to his Chicago-area home.
Foxx watched the series herself and said she found it “deeply, deeply disturbing.”
“I was sickened by the allegations. I was sickened as a survivor. I was sickened as a mother. I was sickened as a prosecutor,” she said.
But Foxx also said there’s no active investigation of Kelly and launching one would require victims and witnesses.
A Cook County jury acquitted Kelly of all 14 counts of child pornography in 2008. Prosecutors had argued a videotape showed him engaged in graphic sex acts with a girl as young as 13. Kelly and the alleged victim, in her 20s at the time of the trial, denied it was them in the video.
Kelly’s Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, said in a phone interview that the allegations in the Lifetime documentary were false.
“Ten and a half years after he was found innocent [at trial of child pornography charges] and to fill reality TV time — someone comes up with another round of stories,” he said. “No one has found any sex slaves or underage girls because there aren’t any.”
Greenberg also said it was inappropriate for a state’s attorney to characterise allegations she’d seen on TV, prior to charges or even an investigation.
“Who makes their assessment of the evidence based on reality TV?” he said.
Kelly rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer. Despite his legal troubles a decade ago, he still retains a following.
Kelly won a Grammy in 1997 for ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ and is known for such raunchy hits as ‘Bump N’ Grind’ and ‘Ignition.’