According to Billboard, Michael Williams of Valdosta, Georgia, was sentenced yesterday to eight years in prison for burning a car to intimidate a witness in R. Kelly’s then-upcoming trial for sex trafficking. Wiliams, who prosecutors said was related to Kelly’s former publicist, apparently went to Florida in 2020 and set fire to the car outside of the home where a witness was staying.
The vehicle apparently belonged to the woman’s father. According to reports, Williams left a note on the SUV that read, “It might be wise for you to protect your daughter from heartache she’s gonna endure through this and after. She had to live with every stain you guys create publicly.” Williams’ search history was also used as evidence, showing that he’d looked up how to make explosives, as well as witness intimidation and witness tampering laws, and countries that do not have extradition agreements with the United States.
Williams wasn’t the only one who was found guilty of witness intimidation. In February, Richard Arline Jr., a longtime friend of Kelly’s, pled guilty to charges of bribery after offering one of the women accusing Kelly $500,000 in exchange for her ceasing cooperation with the authorities.
Incidentally, all those efforts eventually went to waste; In September, R. Kelly was found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering in federal court in Brooklyn, with his sentence to be determined at a future date. He still faces trial in Chicago on similar charges.