One of R. Kelly’s associates has pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a witness not to testify against the imprisoned singer.
Richard Arline Jr was first indicted last year alongside two other men for attempting to bribe one of Kelly’s alleged sex abuse victims with $500,000 to buy her silence between May and June 2020.
Arline pleaded guilty on Tuesday (February 2) after prosecutors outlined a selection of substantial evidence they had collected against him. It included recordings of phone conversations Arline had with the unnamed woman, who is said to have started a sexual relationship with Kelly when she was just 17.
The calls allegedly outline Arline’s motives, with one establishing that he has access to Kelly’s money and wants to stop her from talking to authorities.
In one call, Arline is heard to raise his offer to $1 million after the woman said she “wouldn’t go for half a million”.
In another deleted call, Arline talks about incriminating videos the woman owns that he wants to be deleted.
“They just want that to disappear. You know what I’m saying?” he is heard to say, according to court documents.
In another, he mentions Kelly by the nickname ‘Rob’ and says: “If I had a way to talk to Rob, being next to him, and telling him what’s going on, without nobody listening to, no feds, nobody, he gonna pay her ass off to be quiet.
“She got too much. She got too much.”
Pleading guilty, Arline said: ” “I knew what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry.”
He is set to be sentenced in June and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Two other men who were indicted alongside Arline, namely Kelly’s manager Donnell Russell and associate Michael Williams, are yet to stand trial.
Williams is accused of allegedly torching an SUV outside of a home where one of Kelly’s alleged victims was staying in an attempt to intimidate them.
Kelly was first taken into custody in early 2019 on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He currently faces sexual abuse charges in both New York and Chicago.