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R. Kelly’s Associate Pleads Guilty To Bribing Witnesses On His Behalf

With the trial of R. Kelly set for September 2021, one of his associates has tapped out, according to law digest Courthouse News. Richard Arline Jr., a longtime friend of Kelly’s, pled guilty to charges of bribery today, admitting that he offered one of Kelly’s alleged victims money to drop a claim against him. Arline was was of three men indicted last August on charges of extorting or intimidating victims of Kelly’s alleged sex ring. Arline entered his plea via video conference.

One of the victims, a woman who was 17 at the time Arline tried to pay her off to prevent her from coming forward with her sexual relationship with Kelly, recorded phone calls last May and June between herself and Arline. On the tapes, Arline is heard proposing to send the woman $500,000 in exchange for her ceasing cooperation with the authorities, with the woman rejecting his proposal and demanding $1 million within 24 hours. In one call, Arline requests the woman destroy evidence including iPads and video that could be used against Kelly.

In a short statement, Arline admitted, “I knew what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry.” He’s set to be sentenced in June. While there’s no mandatory minimum for federal bribery, the maximum sentence is 15 years. The two other men charged alongside him, Kelly’s manager Donnell Russell and Michael Williams, were charged with posting nude photographs of one victim to Facebook and YouTube and setting a rental SUV on fire after sending threats to other victims.