With just two months to his federal trial, R. Kelly is apparently making a significant change to his legal team.
One half of his legal team, attorneys Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard have requested to withdraw from the case. Speaking to CNN, Greenberg said he felt that Kelly was “insistent that we work with people who we felt would be rendering in effective assistance as counsel.”
However, the singer’s remaining attorneys, Tom Farinella and Nicole Blank Becker shared a different opinion. They told the court that R. Kelly had sacked both Greenberg and Leonard last week.
“He (Kelly) does not wish to have Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Leonard represent him,” Farinella said at the court hearing. “We’re prepared to move forward with the trial so it will not affect the administration of the court’s calendar or the trial date.”
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About the case
R. Kelly is facing multiple federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors have also alleged that he ran an elaborate criminal enterprise to traffic and exploit women and young girls and coerce them into illegal sexual activity.
The singer faces charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He was also the subject of the Netflix series “Surviving R. Kelly,” detailing dozens of sexual abuse allegations over the course of his long career.
Kelly is being held without bail in a federal prison in Chicago, where he also faces federal and state charges. He has however pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
At a hearing on Wednesday, federal prosecutors added that they expect Kelly to be moved to a facility in New York shortly before his Brooklyn trial begins.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly will need to approve of the change in Kelly’s legal team but also added that she would not further delay the trial. Jury questioning is set to begin on August 9 and the trial itself is scheduled to begin on August 11.
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