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On Monday (April 19), an associate for R. Kelly took a plea deal, admitting he attempted to silence one of the singer’s accusers by setting her SUV on fire.
According to the New York Post, Michael Williams pleaded guilty to one count of arson for destroying an SUV rented by Azriel Clary’s father. In exchange for accepting the plea, prosecutors have agreed to drop the witness tampering charges against him. Williams faces a minimum of 60 months and a maximum of 71 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
Clary showed her charred vehicle via Instagram in June, It showed the charred remains of the vehicle, which was in front of the home in Florida where she lived with her family.
Prosecutors claim Williams used his cell phone to search the home’s address just two hours before the crime occured. Williams’ GMC Yukon, which had notable damage itself, was also captured on toll plaza cameras traveling from Georgia to Florida before the arson, then subsequently returning to Georgia.
According to the New York Times, Kelly’s legal team denies the singer’s connection to the arson. “R. Kelly had nothing to do with these alleged acts by these people,” Kelly’s lawyer Thomas A. Farinella told the newspaper.
On Thursday (April 15), a federal judge gave the green light to relocate R. Kelly in preparation for his trial this summer on alleged sex-trafficking crimes. The case, which has faced several delays, is unrelated to the one in Chicago, where he is being held on 21 charges of making child pornography.
The trial in Brooklyn federal court had been put off because of the coronavirus pandemic. During a virtual hearing, according to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly told lawyers that there are courthouse protections that allow the trial to begin on August 9.
R. Kelly has denied all sex traficking allegations made against him in both New York and Chicago.