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Georgia man tells police R. Kelly’s manager threatened him

January 9, 2019
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FILE - In this June 30, 2013 file photo, R. Kelly performs at the BET Awards in Los Angeles. A Georgia man involved with a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R. Kelly told police the singer's manager threatened him. A Stockbridge police report says Timothy Savage told an officer on Jan. 3 that Don Russell had texted him saying it would be best for him and his family if the documentary didn't air. Savage said he and his wife were involved with Lifetime's "Surviving R. Kelly" series. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP, File)

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) — 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 Jan. 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. Kelly, who turned 52 on Tuesday, 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.

A Chicago prosecutor has asked any possible victims or witnesses of alleged abuse by R. Kelly to contact her office. She says the allegations are 'sickening.' (Jan. 8)
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In Kelly’s hometown Chicago, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed reporters 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.

Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta-based attorney who represents Savage and his wife, said he has been contacted by both the Fulton County district attorney’s office in Atlanta and prosecutors in Chicago. The Fulton County investigators “haven’t confirmed or denied an investigation,” he said, but they asked him Monday for contact information for witnesses.

Savage and his wife have said repeatedly that Kelly has kept their daughter from contacting them since 2016.

Chris Hopper, a spokesman, for the Fulton County district attorney’s office, declined to comment.

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 Tuesday evening 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 characterize 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.”

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This story has been corrected to show that the police report about R. Kelly’s manager came from Henry County police, not Stockbridge police.