R. Kelly’s legal troubles seem to be never-ending as two of his Chicago-based defense attorneys have asked to withdraw from his sex trafficking case, which is scheduled to begin in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York, this summer. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the 12 Play singer’s lawyers, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, were fired before they officially filed court documents with a judge on Monday, June 7. Kelly’s Chicago lawyers believe his other counselors aren’t equipped to take the lead on the case and would rather be relieved of their duties.
“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 wrote in a letter to a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly has set a status conference to discuss the matter on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, and will decide then whether she’ll approve Greenberg and Leonard’s departure from the case. Greenberg also plans on making a similar request to the judge presiding over Kelly’s case in Chicago.
“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,” Greenberg said in a statement to CNN.
Attorneys Tom Farinella of New York and Nicole Becker of Michigan remain as part of Kelly’s defense team and told CNN in a joint statement, “The only comment we have at this time is that Mr. Kelly terminated both lawyers prior to filing their motion.”
Kelly is also facing charges in New York alleging that for more than 20 years he was the leader of a racketeering enterprise made up of managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and runners, who recruited women and girls to engage in illicit sexual activity with the platinum-selling vocalist and songwriter. The Chicago singer’s trial is set to begin in August on his federal sex trafficking charges case.