The manager of R&B singer R. Kelly is accused of threatening a Henry County family about the Lifetime docuseries centered around the entertainer and his alleged abuse of women, according to a police report obtained by AJC.com.
Don Russell, the manager for Grammy Award-winning singer Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of sending threatening texts and making calls to Tim Savage on Jan. 3, saying it would “be best for him and his family if the documentary does not air,” according to a Henry County police incident report.
The documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” aired later that night and the two subsequent nights, and Tim Savage and his wife, JonJelyn, were interviewed for the program. Both made accusations that Kelly is holding their daughter, Joycelyn, against her will at a mansion in Chicago, which is where the 52-year-old singer was born.
Savage showed the officer the threatening text, and Russell also called Savage while the officer was present, the report said. Savage put the phone on speaker so the officer could hear, and the officer said he heard Russell say “several times that Tim is providing Lifetime false information, and if he continues supporting the documentary, that they (R. Kelly/Russell) would be forced to provide information disproving Timothy,” the report said.
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Russell allegedly went on to threaten that “the information (they had) would ruin him, his reputation, business and family, because it would show him (to be) a liar,” the report said.
Henry County police spokesman Capt. Joey Smith told AJC.com that detectives are reviewing the case, but no arrest warrants have been obtained against Russell.
Henry County isn’t the only law enforcement agency looking into Russell for alleged threats. He’s also listed as a person of interest by New York police in connection with a shooting threat made to a venue screening the docuseries in December, TMZ reported.
NeueHouse in New York City received a call 20 minutes into the Dec. 4 screening, and the caller warned that someone in the audience would begin shooting people in the venue if the program continued, causing it to be evacuated, according to TMZ.
The six-part docuseries featured allegations that Kelly was holding young women against their wills and physically, mentally and sexually abusing them. The program immediately sparked controversy and backlash against the artist known for hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump N Grind.” He’s also been a prevalent songwriter and wrote hits for artists such as Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears, Destiny’s Child and Aaliyah, whom he briefly married when she was 15 years old.
Following the docuseries’ premiere, TMZ reported the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office was investigating the allegations made against Kelly that involve his mansion in Johns Creek. DA spokesman Chris Hopper told AJC.com on Wednesday the office still has no comment.
Russell isn’t the first of Kelly’s managers to allegedly threaten the Savages. James Mason, a former manager, also has an arrest warrant issued against him in Henry County for terroristic threats that he allegedly made in May 2018, AJC.com previously reported.
Mason is accused of telling Tim Savage “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you I’m gonna get you, I’m going to (expletive) kill you,” according to a Henry County police incident report.
Savage told the officer Mason made those threats while he was on a three-way call with another man, who he said heard Mason make the threats, the police report said. JonJelyn Savage also said she heard the end of the conversation with Mason, but she didn’t hear the threats.
As of Thursday afternoon, Mason had not turned himself in to Henry County authorities.
Last week, the Savages spoke to Channel 2 Action News and begged Kelly to “turn yourself in, let these girls go, so they can come home to see their families.”
The family’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, also told the news station they have been contacted by the Fulton County DA’s Office and have provided them with the names and phone numbers of witnesses regarding the Johns Creek allegations.
“When somebody says they're held against their will and somebody else sees domestic assault or domestic battery and people being held against their will, I can see at least three crimes under the official code of Georgia,” Griggs said.
The other accusers from the docuseries include Kelly’s ex-girlfriends Asante McGee and Kitti Jones, an anonymous former employee, Michelle Kramer and Alice and Angelo Clary. TMZ reported that McGee has been contacted by investigators in the wake of the docuseries in addition to the Savages.
In an interview with ABC News, Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, denied all allegations made against his client, saying he did not need to watch the docuseries to know its claims were untrue. The singer has seen “snippets,” he said.
“We know what happened, and we know those things didn’t happen,” Greenberg said in the interview, which aired on “Good Morning America.” “The man was not operating a harem, or a sex cult, or holding people hostage or anything like that.”
Many of the allegations against Kelly involve mansions he owned in Johns Creek and Chicago. The two homes were featured in the final episodes of the docuseries, and the young women’s families said the singer “brainwashed” them while they lived with him.
Kelly was evicted from two homes he was renting in Johns Creek, which were on Old Homestead Trail and Saint Devon Crossing. At one point, he also rented a third home off Creek Wind Court.
Johns Creek police spokesman Capt. Chris Byers told AJC.com last week “we have no active investigation on R. Kelly,” and said no new criminal evidence had been unearthed in the docuseries.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx held a news conference Jan. 8 in Chicago, urging victims to come forward. She also confirmed that her office hasn’t launched a formal investigation into Kelly’s allegations.
The next day, State’s Attorney Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton told AJC.com the office “has received calls related to this matter” and they “are in the process of reviewing and following up on these calls.” She said the office had no new updates Wednesday.
The backlash against Kelly has led to many calls to boycott his music, such as the #MuteRKelly movement. The movement is credited for causing Illinois officials to reject a grant for a concert hosted by R. Kelly because of security concerns, officials told the Chicago Tribune.
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