8-years for intimidating a victim
On November 17, Michael Williams was sentenced to 8-years in jail for having set fire to an SUV belonging to a witness in the sex trafficking case against controversial rapper R. Kelly. The act of intimidation carried out in June 2020 was intended to discourage the vehicle's owner from testifying against the rapper - she was one of his alleged victims, and lives in Florida.
Speaking on the conviction, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said:
“Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will never be tolerated. This Office will bring all of its resources to bear against those who commit dangerous acts of violence to silence victims and interfere with the administration of justice.”
The case against R. Kelly
When Williams set fire to the car, Kelly's case was still pending. In September 2021 he was found guilty of running a sex-trafficking ring that abused women and children over two decades.
His trial featured testimonies from 9 women and 2 men, who exposed the abuse committed by the rapper (real name - Robert Sylvester Kelly) and the trafficking of victims between states. He was also found guilty of the crime of racketeering and will be sentenced in May 2022.
It was perhaps the degree to which members of Kelly's entourage - including his managers and security guards - were involved in the criminal enterprise. This may explain why people like Michael Williams were so determined to silence witnesses to the crimes of the group.
Two further of R. Kelly's associates — Richard Arline Jr. and Kelly’s former adviser Donnell Russell — were charged in August 2020 on charges related to the racketeering trial.
Another trial for R.Kelly in 2022
The worst may still be to come for Kelly though. He is due in federal court in Chicago for a trial scheduled for August 2022 to answer charges of sex crimes and child pornography.
Are you surprised at how long the legal process takes for such crimes? Do you believe figures like R. Kelly get treated harshly or kindly as a result of their celebrity status? Let me know in the comments section below.