Two of R. Kelly’s lawyers set to represent him in a soon-to-begin sex trafficking and racketeering trial in Brooklyn have asked to be relieved from the case.
According to The New York Daily News, one of those attorneys says it’s because two new attorneys retained by the embattled R&B singer have no federal court experience, aren’t willing to put in the work and are setting him up for failure.
The newspaper reports Steven Greenberg and Michael Leonard filed a letter to Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Ann Donnelly Monday evening requesting the be excused from the trial, which is set to begin in two months. The pair of lawyers gave no specific reason as to why they wanted to depart.
That said, Greenberg told the Daily News via phone that there is friction between himself and Leonard and the new attorneys – Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker.
“Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Kelly over time has not made the best decisions and I fear he’s doing that now. But it’s not my problem I guess. I wish him the best. I hope he wins this case,” Greenberg said. “You sort of want to take the high road but they’re just really f***ing him over, these two.”
“We don’t want to be with people who don’t have any experience and don’t want to do the work,” he added.
Additionally, Greenberg said he and Leonard tried to discuss their issues with Kelly at the Chicago federal jail he’s being held at, however the singer declined to see them. Greenberg has represented Kelly since 2018.
“While we realize that this request comes close to trial — and although we are ready to proceed to trial as scheduled in August — 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,” they wrote in the startling one-page filing, according to the Daily News.
On April 15, a federal judge gave the green light to relocate the R&B singer in preparation for his trial this summer on the alleged sex-trafficking crimes. The case, which has faced several delays, is unrelated to the one in Chicago, where he is being held on 21 charges of making child pornography.
The trial in Brooklyn federal court had been put off because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to ABC News, during a virtual hearing, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly told lawyers that there are courthouse protections that allow the trial to begin on August 9.
Prosecutors in New York allege Kelly led an enterprise 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 his alleged victims.
R. Kelly has denied all sex traficking allegations made against him.