Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, R. Kelly was found guilty of sexually abusing women and children

A man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for intimidating a witness in the R. Kelly trial.

Michael Williams set fire to an SUV belonging to the father of a witness due to testify against the singer.

R. Kelly could face life in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing women and children over 20 years.

Threatening victim safety "will never be tolerated," said the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Williams, 38, committed the arson to "prevent the victim-witness from continuing to co-operate", according a statement from the attorney's office.

R. Kelly's trial heard from 11 accusers – nine women and two men – who described enduring sexual humiliation and violence.

After two days of discussion, the jury found the singer guilty on all nine charges he was facing. He is due to be sentenced in May next year.

  • The testimony that convicted R. Kelly
  • The history of allegations against R. Kelly
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Michael Williams – who is from the state of Georgia – went to the witness's home in Florida on 11 June 2020, according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

While she was inside the house with her family, Williams set fire to an SUV that had been hired by her father, leaving it "heavily damaged".

Investigators found traces of a fuel used to burn the car.

'Vicious and disturbing'

The DoJ said Williams' internet history had searches which covered "the detonation properties of fertiliser and diesel fuel, witness intimidation and witness tampering, and countries that do not have extradition agreements with the United States".

"In a violent act designed to instil fear and stop a witness from testifying at trial, Williams set fire to the victim's vehicle in the middle of the night while it was parked outside of a residence occupied by four adults and two children," said attorney Breon Peace.

"Intimidating witnesses and threatening the safety of crime victims undermine the very fabric of our judicial system and will never be tolerated."

According to Rolling Stone, the unnamed victim said in a statement: "It is very unfortunate to see a man lose his freedom, however, the crime that was committed was not only vicious but disturbing."

They added their "mental state deteriorated tremendously due to fear, invasion of privacy, and trauma among many other things".

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