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After Guilty Verdict of Self Described R.Kelly Manager Donnell Russell Is Quoted As Not Testifying, Discharge

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song Podcast Song II

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 1 – After the conviction and sentencing of R.Kelly in the Eastern District of New York, on July 18, 2022 jury selection became for the trial of his associate Donnell Russell for threats to try to stop a screening of the documentary "Surviving R.Kelly." As with the EDNY trial (below), but in more detail, Inner City Press live tweeted the second and last day ( first day here) of jury selection here.

On July 22, Russell was found guilty of interstate threat, and sentencing was set for November 21 at 10 am. Thread below.

On November 4, SDNY Judge Paul G. Gardephe ruled against Russell's motions for acquittal or a new trial, but pushed sentencing back to December 19.

On December 15, the US Attorney's Office wrote in to Judge Gardephe asking that a dial-in number exist for the sentencing. While it is requested for "Individual-1" who attended and was evacuated from the NeueHouse, if such a line is established, the public should be able to call in on a listen only basis too, it would seem. Watch this site.

On December, the victim (the mother of Faith R.) did call in. Inner City Press was in the courtroom, thread:

Judge: He was protecting a prolific molester. Judge Donnelly imposed a substantial 20 month sentence and that is sufficient. I impose one year, concurrent. No extra time. Fine of $10,000.

Russell wants to postpone surrender date from Feb 21 to May 1 - because he says he's getting a government grant in March.

On May 22, after Russell fired his lawyers, docketed was his pro se "motion to dismiss," describing himself as vessel and with an 1099. He also requested an extension after having missing the time to appeal.

On May 31, Judge Gardephe noted that the request was all about trial strategy, not why the appeal notice was not filed in the required time. Russell's motion was denied.

On June 21, 2023, Donnell Russell filed again, this time stating that "Attorneys are considered Foreign Agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and are Subjects of the Bar Association... It is a violation of the 11th Amendment for a foreign citizen to invoke the judicial power of the state."

On July 14, Donnell Russell filed with the Clerk of Court of the SDNY his letter to Janet Yellen, and his cover letter that "the Federal Government took much of our lawful money out of circulation in 1933, i.e., gold coins."

On December 1, 2023, Russell lawyer at trial filed an affidavit, after Russell waived privilege, reiterating that Russell did not tell him he wanted to testify, quoting him "Nah, man, I ain't testifying."

Meanwhile in EDNY, R Kelly has paid it off: "WHEREAS, a judgment was imposed against the defendant and in favor of the United States of America, in the amount of $520,549.90, that is, restitution in the amount of $379,649.90, plus interest, a fine in the amount of $100,000.00, plus interest, a JVTA assessment in the amount of $40,000.00, and a special assessment in the amount of $900.00, on December 7, 2022, in the above-captioned case, and thereafter entered on the docket sheet by the Clerk of the Court on December 7, 2022. WHEREAS, said judgment has been fully paid as to the defendant ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY; THEREFORE, the Clerk of the Court is hereby authorized and requested to cancel, satisfy and discharge the same solely as to the defendant ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY. Dated: Brooklyn, New York December 1, 2023 BREON S. PEACE United States Attorney."

We'll continue to follow and report on the case(s).

On November 4 Inner City Press live tweeted here:

OK  - now a proceeding / ruling in US v. Donnell Russell, self-described manager of #RKelly. He's filed a motion on which Judge Gardephe is about to rule

Judge Gardephe: This was about a screening of a film alleging that RKelly had sexually abused young girls. 70 to 100 people attended the screening. The evidence showed the defendant repeatedly called the venue to try to stop the screening

Judge Gardephe: Russell coordinated with Kash Jones, a hip hop journalist. He wrote to her, Are they continuing with the screening? Jones replies, Yes.

Judge Gardephe: After texting Kash Jones that the police might be coming, Donnell Russell later told her to "delete those messages about 5-0." Russell said in an "At Night" YouTube interview that if the screening had happened, some concerts wouldn't have happened

 Judge: The jury found Russell guilty on Count Two, not guilty on Count One. He moved for a judgment of acquittal on Count Two... But the threat call was made from the Russell Land Line. And he texted Kash Jones about "the cops may be arriving shortly"

Judge: Russell said on YouTube he was on the phone with the venue "all day." He pretended to be a lawyer, sending a cease & desist letter.... In sum, evidence was more than sufficient... Yes, the threat recipient sounded like a thug. But a jury could ID Russell

 Judge: Asking for a new trial, Russell argues that the court erroneously allowed in various exhibits. Some of the exhibits he cites were never admitted. The others were relevant and/or not inflammatory. Only 1409-A was objected to; it was redacted

 Judge: So the motion for a new trial is [also] denied. Sentencing is adjourned to December 19. Thank you all and good day.

On December 5, Donnell Russell's lawyer filed a sentencing memo asking for... probation, stating that "Mr. Russell's mistake has already cost him his standing in the community and caused humiliation, stress and financial hardship." Watch this site.

On August 4 in EDNY, the US asked for an order to the Bureau of Prisons to turn over the $28,000 in R. Kelly's account to it: "The Government writes to respectfully request that the Court sign the enclosed  proposed order directing the Bureau of Prisons (the “BOP”) to turn over the restrained funds held  in the inmate trust account of Defendant Robert S. Kelly (“Defendant”) to the Clerk of the Court  for deposit into an interest-bearing account pending a determination as to the amount and  applicability of a restitution judgment... at the request of the  Government, the BOP has restrained $27,828.24 of the funds that have been deposited into the  Defendant’s trust account." Letter and draft order on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On September 28, Judge Donnelly held a proceeding. R.Kelly appeared by Zoom - but there was no public listen-only call-in line. And Inner City Press continues to await approval from EDNY District Executive Eugene J. Corcoran to bring a phone into the courthouse, even during the US v. Tom Barrack trial where other media have them. Judge Donnelly issued this: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ann M. Donnelly: Restitution hearing as to Robert Sylvester Kelly held on 9/28/2022. Appearances by AUSA Lauren Elbert. Jennifer Bonjean and Ashley Cohen for defendant Kelly (present via zoom). Case called. Discussion held. The Court ordered restitution for Jane Doe #5 under 18 U.S.C. § 2429, and reserved judgment on an aspect of Jane Doe #2's restitution pending additional calculations by the government. The Court declined to order restitution as to Jane Doe #3. The Court inquired further about the defendant's financial resources, and asked the parties to provide an update to the Court to the extent they have new information. The government must file a supplemental letter regarding restitution by October 5, 2022; that letter must (i) clarify the government's calculations with respect to Jane Doe #2, and include (ii) a proposed restitution order and (iii) a proposed payment schedule for both the restitution and the other criminal monetary penalties imposed in this case. The defense must submit a response, if any, by October 12, 2022. The parties should determine whether they can agree on a payment schedule, and if so, to submit a joint proposed plan." Watch this site.

On August 10, R. Kelly's lawyer had fired back: "a reporter from the Washington Post contacted undersigned counsel for comment about an article he was writing concerning the seizure of funds in inmate trust accounts for the purpose of paying court-ordered judgments. During that conversation, it became clear to undersigned counsel that the reporter obtained confidential information from the BOP..." Full filing on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On September 9, Judge Ann Donnelly granted the Government's request: "As it stands, the defendant has not paid his $900 special assessment, $100,000 fine or $40,000 JTVA assessment. (ECF No. 326-1.) There is no dispute that these amounts are outstanding; nor is there any dispute that the funds in the defendant’s trust account, totaling $28,328.24, constitute “substantial resources” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 3664(n).3 Thus, the government’s request is authorized by section 3664(n)’s plain terms,...The defendant’s remaining claims—that the BOP unlawfully “encumbered Mr. Kelly’s funds” and that the BOP and the government should be sanctioned—have no merit. Full order on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

Later in September, Judge Donnelly ordered that the government's request to seal is too broad: "ORDER: In its submissions regarding restitution [331] [337], the government asks the Court to seal its letters and documents relating to restitution.  "[D]ocuments may be sealed if specific, on the record findings are made demonstrating that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest." Lugosch v. Pyramid Co. of Onondaga, 435 F.3d 110, 120 (2d Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). Although protecting the identities of victims and their personal medical information are higher interests that may justify sealing, the Court does not find that sealing the parties' letters in their entirety is "narrowly tailored" to those interests. The victims testified in court, under pseudonyms, about many of the things that underlie the restitution requests.  Therefore, by September 27, 2022, the parties are instructed to confer and submit to the Court joint proposed redactions of their letters at ECF Nos. 331, 336 and 337. Public versions of the letters will be issued once appropriate redactions have been determined. Ordered by Judge Ann M. Donnelly on 9/23/2022." Watch this site.

On July 20, there were opening arguments and witnesses - seemingly, more than half of the case. Inner City Press live tweeted here.

On July 21, the US' final witnesses and rested; Russell did not take the stand and the evidence closed, setting up the July 22 closings before deliberation. Inner City Press live tweeted July 21 here.

On July 22, the closing arguments, jury charge, question and verdict (guilty). Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

All rise! Judge Gardephe: Mr. Foreperson, what say you? Guilty. [After jury leaves"] Freedman: I'll brief my rule 29 motion in two weeks. Judge Gardephe: Sentencing Nov 21 at 10 am.

 Note: There were two UN Marshals in the courtroom, in case Judge Gardephe ordered him immediately jailed. He didn't.

Update: I ran out of the courthouse and caught up with Donnell Russell and his lawyer Freeman, asked them if any comment on the verdict. First Don Russell told Freeman, I'm not talking to him. Then a real "no comment."

Inner City Press will cover the motion(s) and sentencing, and the wider R. Kelly (and others) legal worlds.

This case is US v. Russell, 20-cr-538 (Gardephe)

The morning of jury selection in the R.Kelly trial, which began on August 18, 2021 with no call-in line and no Press or public in the courtroom, his lawyers docketed a motion to dismiss, below.

  On September 2, Inner City Press went to the EDNY courthouse in Brooklyn, before 9 am. There were supporters of R.Kelly on the sidewalk in front, one with a tiara; there was other journalists. On a delay occasioned by the flooding of the subway system, all entered and up to the (overflow) Courtroom on the sixth floor.

  On TV screens, at first two lawyers milled about, then others, then Judge Ann Donnelly herself. Why she decided not only to ban the Press and public from the actual courtroom, where the reactions of the jury for example could be gauged, but worse to have no call-in line, is not known.

 Now is why, when she played some of the audio the prosecutors presented to the jurors, it was only for only some members of the media, rather than have it made available as a judicial document. Later on September 27, nine jury guilty verdicts for R.Kelly, whose lawyer Devereaux Cannick said, "I'm sure we'll be appealing."

On June 8, the US filed its sentencing memo, asking for more than 25 years. "Based on a total offense level of 45 and a criminal history category of I, the applicable Guidelines  range is life imprisonment. II. A Sentence in Excess of 25 Years is Warranted  The government respectfully submits that a sentence in excess of 25 years is  appropriate in light of all relevant factors, including the nature and circumstances of the offense,  the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for the sentence to reflect the  seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, to provide just punishment, to afford  adequate deterrence and to protect the public" Memo on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On June 29, in a proceeding of which no live tweeting was permitted, R.Kelly was sentenced to 30 years. He did not speak prior to sentencing, unlike for example Ghislaine Maxwell the previous day in SDNY. (She got 20 years). We'll have more on this.

 Full motion on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

  SWatch this site - & this.

Inner City Press published the full motion on its DocumentCloud here, and song here.

Watch this site, and on Twitter, @InnerCityPress

  Inner City Press which successfully advocated for the restoration of call-in access to January 6 proceedings in the District for the District of Columbia, did an August 18 stand-up outside the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, here

From the motion to dismiss: "Mr. r. Kelly respectfully submits this memorandum of law in support of his pre-trial motion  to dismiss in advance of trial in this matter."

  Inner City Press published the full memo on its DocumentCloud, here.

  Inner City Press will continue to follow and report on these cases. EDNY is US v. Robert Sylvester Kelly, a/k/a R. Kelly, EDNY Docket No. 19-cr-286 (AMD).

Criminal in SDNY is This case is US v. Russell, 20-cr-538 (Gardephe).  More on Patreon here.



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