R. Kelly’s legal team has been reshuffled again, as the singer’s longtime attorneys have been granted their request to withdraw from his case just weeks before heading to federal court.
Following Kelly’s hiring of two new lawyers, Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard claimed it was “impossible” for them to work alongside the new attorneys.
They requested a withdrawal from the case, which U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly granted earlier this week.
Judge Donnelly had earlier asked Kelly at a phone hearing on June 9 whether or not he wanted to drop the pair from his representation, to which he replied: “Absolutely, yes ma’am, your honor.”
Expanding on the disagreement in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, Greenberg said: “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.”
R. Kelly is accused of leading an enterprise to recruit women and girls for sex. He denies any wrongdoing. His case is due to head to trial in Brooklyn on August 9.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” star is also set for a separate trial for his child pornography charges in his native Chicago, Illinois in September.
R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all counts.