The lead-up to R. Kelly‘s trials has been filled with twists and turns. In July 2019, Kelly was taken into custody while taking his dog out for a walk and was hit with several charges related to sex crimes. Since that time, the allegations against the disgraced singer have mounted as federal investigations pushed forward in several states. Kelly has remained incarcerated in Chicago and in just two months, his New York case is slated to begin in Brooklyn. However, on Monday (June 7) evening, news broke that the singer has encountered a bit of a snag now that the top two people on his legal team have asked to be removed from Kelly’s case.
It’s reported by the Chicago Sun-Times that Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, two attorneys who have represented Kelly for a number of years, were both fired by Kelly just before they officially filed court documents with a judge. They issued an official statement regarding the last-minute move.
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“Our reasons for withdrawal are significant and it is impossible, in our belief, for us to be able to continue to properly represent Mr. Kelly under the current circumstances,” Greenberg reportedly wrote in a letter to the judge. In a statement, he added, “Ultimately, as trial lawyers and in the interests of the client, we weren’t comfortable professionally with allowing lawyers who have never tried federal criminal cases to have significant trial responsibilities. That approach was not to everyone’s liking.” He also said he wishes “the best” for R. Kelly and that “we’re rooting for him.”
There seemed to be a power issue with the legal team as other lawyers, namely Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker, were reportedly “seeking greater roles” in the trial, reports the Sun-Times. In his Brooklyn trial, Kelly faces accusations that he was in charge of an “enterprise” that consisted of his entourage, including people who worked for him, who would find and procure girls and women for him to have sex with.
In a separate joint statement to TMZ, Greenberg and Leonard said, “We refused to try a case with lawyers who don’t have the appropriate level of experience and skill because that is not in the client’s best interest. It is a shame that lawyers can’t suppress their own egos or self-interest and do or act in the client’s best interest.”
R. Kelly’s fans, and several entertainers, continue to vocalize support for him. It’s unclear if this latest update from his legal team will delay Kelly’s trial.