R. Kelly Associate Gets 8-Year Prison Sentence After Setting Accuser's Car on Fire

Michael Williams previously pleaded guilty to an arson charge after he admitting to torching a car that belonged to one of Kelly's sexual abuse accusers.

R&B singer R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building

Image via Getty/Scott Olson

R&B singer R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Courts Building

An R. Kelly associate has been sentenced to 96 months for witness intimidation in connection to the singer’s sex crime and racketeering case.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced the sentencing Wednesday, about seven months after 38-year-old Michael Williams pleaded guilty to an arson charge. The Georgia resident admitted to authorities he had traveled to the home of one of Kelly’s accusers and set fire to a vehicle that was parked outside her Florida residence. Prosecutors say Williams’ deliberate actions were intended to scare the woman and prevent her from cooperating in Kelly’s federal trial.

Williams, a relative of Kelly’s former publicist, reportedly arrived at the accuser’s house on June 11, 2020, and poured gasoline around an SUV that was leased by the victim’s father. Prosecutors say the witness—identified as Jane Doe in court documents— was inside the home at the time of the incident, along with three other adults and two children. The accuser’s mother reportedly called 911 after seeing the flames outside.

Photo of car that was burned by R. Kelly's associate Michael Williams to intimidate accuser

According to the Department of Justice, investigators also found traces of an accelerant outside the witness’ home. They also said Williams had conducted internet searches “about the detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering, and countries that do not have extradition agreements with the United States.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez read the following statement from the victim during the sentencing hearing:

It is very unfortunate to see a man lose his freedom, however, the crime that was committed was not only vicious but disturbing. My mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy, and trauma among many other things. Because of your actions, I live in fear and have had to relocate my entire life. In that home were not only adults but animals and children under the age of 10. My family is traumatized and has been in distress due to this unlawful act. I hope this life-changing event gives you time to reflect on your actions.

Williams is one of three men who have been accused of harassing, intimidating, and/or threatening some of Kelly’s accusers. Back in September, the disgraced singer was found guilty of eight counts of sex trafficking and one of racketeering. The artist is now facing between 10 years to life in prison. His sentencing is expected to take place in May 2022.

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