R. Kelly Associate Pleads Guilty to Setting Fire to Accuser’s SUV in Intimidation Attempt

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Image via Getty/Nuccio DiNuzzo

An associate for singer R. Kelly took a plea deal on Monday that admitted he tried to silence one of Kelly’s accusers by setting her SUV on fire, the New York Post reports.

Michael Williams pleaded guilty to one count of arson for destroying an SUV rented by the father of one of R. Kelly’s ex-girlfriends, Azriel Clary. In exchange for accepting the plea deal, the prosecution has agreed to drop the witness tampering charges against him. He’s now facing a minimum of 60 months and a maximum of 71 months under federal sentencing guidelines.

In June, Clary took to Instagram where she showed the charred vehicle which was set on fire in front of the Florida home where she lived in with her family. The court found that Williams used his cell phone to search the home’s address just two hours before the arson. Williams’ identifiably damaged GMC Yukon was also captured on toll plaza cameras traveling from Georgia to Florida before the arson, then returning to Georgia afterward.

Clary doesn’t seem to be Williams’ only intended target. Per court documents, he googled “how do fertilizer bombs work?” 10 days after the arson for no known reason as well as searching “witness intimidation” and “case law for tampering with a witness.” Williams was charged alongside Donnell Russell and Richard Arline Jr. for these crimes last year. Like Williams, Airline pleaded guilty in February.

Despite these men being closely connected to Kelly, the singer and his legal team maintain R. Kelly has no connection to these crimes.

“R. Kelly had nothing to do with these alleged acts by these people,” Kelly’s lawyer Thomas A. Farinella said to the New York Times.

Kelly is currently awaiting trial in Brooklyn for more than 12 counts of sex trafficking, racketeering, coercion, and other charges related to the abuse of six women. This is in addition to his trial in Chicago where he will defend himself against charges of producing child pornography and destroying evidence.