Two of R. Kelly’s lawyers have asked to step down from the star’s lawyer.
Mike Leonardo and Steven Greenberg confirmed to Fox News on Monday that they had asked a New York judge to allow them to withdraw from the case.
In a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times written by Greenberg to Judge Ann Donnelly, the Chicago-based attorney said that if the court deemed it appropriate, he and Leonardo would present themselves “as effective reserve lawyers.” .
“While we recognize that this request is close to trial – and we are ready to proceed to trial as scheduled in August – our reasons for withdrawal are important and it is impossible, in our view, for us to be able to continue to properly represent Mr. . Kelly under the current circumstances, “he said.
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“The government was made aware of our position and our reasons in a phone call,” Greenberg continued. “We ask that the court fix our request for a hearing.”
“Ultimately, as litigators and in the interests of the client, we weren’t professionally comfortable allowing lawyers who have never tried federal criminal cases to have significant responsibilities during the trial, “the lawyer told The Sun-Times. “This approach was not to everyone’s liking.”
Leonard echoed: “Ultimately, as litigators and in the interests of the client, we were only professionally comfortable with giving important responsibilities at trial to those who had. substantial experience in federal criminal jury trials. We wish Mr. Kelly the best of luck. “
The exact reasons for the lawyers’ request are currently unclear, but Greenberg has expressed his dissatisfaction with the lawsuit on Twitter in the past.
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“They are trying so hard to get #Rkelly that they are using a 60 year old law that has never been used before, against anyone,” he tweeted last week.
Kelly’s remaining attorneys – Thomas Farinella, Douglas Anton and Nicole Becker – all shared the same statement in response to Fox News: “The only comment we have at the moment is that Mr. Kelly fired both attorneys before filing. their request. “
Greenberg and Leonard, however, both told Fox News that they “had not” been fired by the R&B singer.
Brooklyn prosecutors allege Kelly ran a company made up of his managers, bodyguards and other employees who helped him recruit women and girls for sex. A jury is expected to hear testimony from the alleged victims, each identified in court documents only as “Jane Doe.”
Born Robert Sylvester Kelly, the three-time Grammy Award winner has pleaded not guilty to multiple federal and state charges, including child sexual exploitation, production of child pornography, kidnapping, forced labor , racketeering and obstruction of justice.
Three suspected accomplices have been indicted by prosecutors and are accused of threatening and intimidating people who accused Kelly of committing crimes.
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In April, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly gave the green light to move the star from Chicago to New York City ahead of her trial in August.
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The exact timing of the move was not immediately clear, but it was suggested that the singer be transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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