- Prosecutors Charge Three With Threatening R Kelly alleged Victims
Three men have been charged with threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer R Kelly of abuse.
Federal prosecutors announced charges Wednesday against three men accused of threatening and intimidating women who have accused R&B singer R Kelly of abuse, including one man suspected of setting fire to a vehicle in Florida According to apnews.com
A longtime friend of the indicted singer allegedly offered to pay a victim $500,000 to keep her from cooperating in Kelly’s prosecution, authorities said, while a manager and adviser of Kelly threatened to release sexually explicit photographs of a woman who sued Kelly.
A Kelly defence lawyer said he had “no involvement whatsoever” in any attempt to silence witnesses.
“He hasn’t attempted to intimidate anyone, or encouraged anyone else to do so,” lawyer Steve Greenberg said on Twitter.
The Grammy-award winning musician has pleaded not guilty to dozens of state and federal sexual misconduct charges in Illinois, Minnesota and New York.
R Kelly departing from the Leighton Criminal Court building after a status hearing in his criminal sexual abuse trial in Chicago.
The charges range from sexual assault to heading a racketeering scheme aimed at supplying Kelly with girls.
Kelly also is accused of having unprotected sex with a minor in 2015 without disclosing he had herpes.
Prosecutors described a third man accused of intimidating witnesses as being related to a former Kelly publicist.
They said Michael Williams, 37, of Valdosta, Georgia, travelled to Florida in June and set fire to an SUV parked outside a residence where one of Kelly’s victims was staying.
Williams also conducted internet searches for “the detonation properties of fertilizer and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering and countries that do not have extradition with the United States”, authorities said in a news release.
A message was sent to Williams’ lawyer seeking comment.
“The men charged today allegedly have shown that there is no line they will not cross to help Kelly avoid the consequences of his alleged crimes – even if it means re-victimizing his accusers,” Peter Fitzhugh, special agent in charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in New York, said in a statement.
Also charged were two Illinois men with ties to Kelly. His longtime friend, 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 had spoken with Kelly behind bars during a three-way call.
Donnell Russell, 45, of Chicago, is charged with harassing a Kelly victim and her mother after the unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against Kelly.
Authorities said Russell, a manager and adviser to Kelly, sent a letter to the woman’s lawyer with cropped nude photographs of her and later sent her a text warning her: “Pull the plug or you will be exposed.”
It was not immediately clear whether Russell and Arline had lawyers who could comment on the charges
Na’Abba Accuses Governors Of Killing Democracy In Nigeria
A former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba, has lampooned governors in the country saying they have ruined democracy.
Na’Abba, while speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa Service yesterday, said state governors have hijacked democracy, manipulating primaries of their political parties for their cronies to emerge.
“The governors have drawn a line in politics in which if you are not their boy you won’t become anybody or get elected at all levels. This is happening in both the PDP and APC.
“Democracy should always give room for interaction among people and they should be allowed to vote the right person they want. But the governors have since changed that, there i…
Appeal Court Rekindles Jegede’s Hope Of Sacking Aketi With Inconclusive Judgment
The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday partially upheld the appeal by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), in the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state.
Jegede, who is challenging Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s victory, had approached the appellate court after the tribunal dismissed his petition for lacking in merit.
His counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, had asked the court to sack Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, because they were allegedly not properly nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But the respondents’ counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), for Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) for the APC and Charles Edosanmwon (SAN) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), faulted all the arguments of Jegede’s counsel.
They contended that the case was a pre-election matter.
In the lead judgment by Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, the court partly allowed Jegede’s appeal on issues one, two, four and five.
She dismissed the appeal on issues three, six and seven.
In their judgments, Justice H. A. Barka, Justice J. G. Abundaga and Justice Andenyangtso Alli dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
Justice Orji-Abadua said the Electoral Act cannot override provisions of the Constitution on qualification or disqualification of a candidate in an election.
“The appeal is partly allowed and partly dismissed,” she said.
The PDP and Jegede vowed to challenge the decision.
The party’s spokesman Kennedy Peretei said in a statement: “In concluding her lead judgment, Justice Orji-Abadua said the appeal was partially dismissed and partially allowed. To the ordinary man in the street, the judgment was ‘inconclusive’.
“The kernel of the Eyitayo Jegede/PDP petition was whether or not a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) should be allowed to stay; whether or not Mai Mala Buni, as a sitting Governor of Yobe State, can double as National Chairman of the APC, to sign the nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for the governorship election.
“While the Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was a violation of the Constitution, it still went ahead to dismiss the appeal.
“We are still studying the details of the judgment, by virtue of the fact that it was delivered via Zoom. But we have sufficient grounds to appeal the decision of the court. We are confident the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land, will do justice.”
Akeredolu has extended an olive branch to Jegede, urging him to join hands with him in building the state.
Addressing reporters, Akeredolu said: “I have said this over and over: this case itself is so flimsy for me as a person. And it is clear because where you believe that you can go through the back door and upturn the will of the people, it is not going to work.
“We had an election in which the party won 15 out of the local governments; you won three. You are not contesting the result of the election, but you are hinging your petition on the Chairman of the party who signed the nomination that was forwarded to INEC.
“For me, it is clear. With God on our side, no matter where they go about this case, it will be the same result.
“It is just like when Yoruba say that if you throw the cutlass up 50 times by the time it’s landing, it will land on its side.
“Tayo, for one reason or the other, I said to him, we don’t need to pursue this case. I had called him once or twice. I don’t see why we are going about this action; that both of us can come together to work for the benefit of the state. That is my own belief.
“I respect him, but he must have a reason behind him pursuing this case the way he’s pursuing it. It is either the party is the one pushing him or he’s the one pushing himself. Whichever one it is, I know there must be something behind what he’s doing.
“But I can assure him, like a man who is building with straw, I can assure him nothing will come out of this case.
“I will call on him again for the umpteenth time: let him come, let us work together to build that state and let us work together for the Southwest and let us work together for Nigeria.
“Importantly, he is one person that I have a lot of respect for; he has respect for me. I see him as a brother. But in election matters, you cannot avoid this kind of contestation.”
Agbakoba Rubbishes Restructuring, Wants Regional Autonomy In Constitution Review Package
A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has asked the National Assembly to consider regional autonomy in the review of the 1999 Constitution.
Following calls for restructuring, among other issues, the National Assembly had recently held public hearings across the country on the proposed review of the 1999 Constitution.
Speaking on the review process in a statement yesterday, Agbakoba said regional autonomy is the best solution to some of the challenges facing the country.
“Calls for restructuring have, in my personal view, become a catch-all phrase that has introduced more confusion than solution. I believe the simple way to go is by regional autonomy,” he said.
“Regional autonomy refers to the governance and administration of a federating unit in the interest of the local people, according to their aspirations. Nigeria is made up of multi-ethnic nations managed by a central authority. This model has proved unsuccessful.
“Europe understood that diversity is best managed by regional autonomy. Switzerland has four ethnic groups. Each of them shares the presidency through four cantons that make up their federating units.
“According to Prof. George Obiozor, even though Quebec is the only fully French-speaking province, yet Canada is bilingual for the sake of Quebec. On the other hand, Yugoslavia mismanaged its diversity and the result was the emergence of six distinct countries. The same fate befell Czechoslovakia, now the nations of Czechs and Slovaks.”
He said devolution of powers is a related concept to regional autonomy, as this means the transfer of powers from one level of government to another and vice versa.
The senior lawyer also suggested that legitimacy can be conferred on the constitutional review process by full involvement and incorporation of the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.
“Prof. Ben Nwabueze has indicated that ethnic nationalities are the true representatives of Nigeria. To quote him, ‘Nigeria has no territory other than the traditional territories inhabited by its constituent nationalities from time immemorial – Yorubaland, Igboland, Hausaland, Tivland, Kanuri, Ijaw, etc. It is the ethnic nationalities that ceded or granted sovereign powers of government over their territories to Britain which makes them (i.e. the ethnic nationalities) the original and primary stakeholders in the Nigerian state,’” Agbakoba said.
He also expressed optimism that more would be achieved by giving prominent seats to the leaders of traditional and ethnic nationalities.
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