The police have charged three friends of R Kelly with threatening and intimidating women who accused him of rape.
Prosecutors announced charges against the three men including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida.
According to prosecutors, a friend of the indicted singer allegedly offered to pay a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating in Kelly’s prosecution, while a manager and adviser to Kelly threatened to release sexually explicit photographs of a woman who also accused Kelly of sex crimes.
The third man who prosecutors think is related to Kelly’s former publicist, is also accused of intimidating witnesses.
The police also charged Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother.
Authorities said Russell, a manager and adviser to Kelly, sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer. Cropped nude photographs of her accompanied the letter. He later sent her a text warning her: “Pull the plug or you will be exposed?”
Also charged were two Illinois men with ties to the singer. One of R Kelly’s longtime friends, Richard Arline Jr., 31, is accused of offering to pay off a woman he believed had “too much” incriminating information against Kelly.
Authorities said they set up a wiretap and recorded a call in which Arline claimed he spoke with Kelly behind bars.
R.Kelly had pleaded not guilty to dozens of sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
The charges ranged from sexual assault to heading 8 racketeering scheme aimed at supplying Kelly with girls.