Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Donnell Russell was sentenced by United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly to 20 months in prison for his part in a scheme to harass, intimidate and cause significant emotional distress to Jane Doe, a victim of the Eastern District of New York racketeering case against Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as “R. Kelly”, and the mother of Jane Doe. Russell, a manager self-proclaimed counselor and friend to Kelly, harassed and threatened Jane Doe and her mother after Jane Doe filed a civil lawsuit against R. Kelly Russell continued his campaign of harassment after it was clear Jane Doe was a victim in Kelly’s criminal case in this district and that she would likely testify against Kelly.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentencing.
“For more than a year, the defendant engaged in a vicious campaign to harass, humiliate and threaten the victim in order to force her to dismiss her lawsuit against R. Kelly and to stop speaking publicly about him,” said said the U.S. peace attorney. “The punishment meted out to the defendant today is a victory for victims of crime, especially those of sexual assault and abuse, who are often reluctant to come forward to law enforcement or bring a legal action, given the trauma and fear of reprisal associated with public discussions of their experiences.”
Mr. Peace expressed his thanks to Homeland Security Investigations, New York, for their outstanding investigative work on the case.
Between November 2018 and February 2020, Russell threatened to reveal sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe and to publicly reveal her sexual history if she did not withdraw her lawsuit against Kelly. In November 2018, Russell had a letter, with attachments, allegedly written by Kelly sent to Jane Doe’s attorney at the time. The attachments included cropped nude photographs of Jane Doe with the following text: “The next two photos have been cropped so they don’t expose her extremities to the world yet!!!” In December 2018, Russell, using his alias “Colon Dunn”, sent a series of text messages to Jane Doe and her mother, containing the same photographs of Jane Doe, and stating “Just a sample. We will be looking for criminal charges. You be warned”, as well as “Coming soon” and “[T]it’s Colon.
On January 3, 2019, Russell sent additional text messages to Jane Doe and her mother, stating, “Pull the plug or you will be exposed.” On January 6, 2019, Russell, using the pseudonym Colon Dunn, created a Facebook page named “Surviving Lies”, a play on the title of Lifetime’s documentary “Surviving R Kelly”, and posted stills of text message screen between Kelly and Jane Doe. , which contained the same sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe. In late January 2020, Russell appeared in two live interviews with “vloggers” supporting Kelly and discussed Kelly’s legal issues, which were streamed live on the internet via YouTube. Russell again posted the same sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe and released them publicly on the Internet.
The government’s case is handled by the Civil Rights Section of the Bureau. Assistant United States Attorney Anna Karamigios is in charge of the prosecution.
DONNELL RUSSELL (also known as “Don Russell” and “Colon Dunn”)
Age: 47 years old
EDNY File #20-CR-427 (AMD)