R. Kelly’s lawyers request to leave defense team before sex trafficking trial begins

Kelly confirmed to the judge that he wanted Leonard and Greenberg off his team.

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R. Kelly FILE - In this June 6, 2019, file photo, singer R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 additional sex-related felonies during a court hearing before Judge Lawrence Flood at Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. R&B singer R. Kelly is due in federal court to enter a plea to an updated federal indictment that includes sex abuse allegations involving a new accuser.  The 53-year-old is expected to plead not guilty at a hearing Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Chicago to a superseding indictment unsealed last month that includes multiple counts of child pornography. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)
By: Teddy Grant

Two defense lawyers representing R. Kelly asked a federal judge to remove them from his legal team on Wednesday ahead of his August sex trafficking trial in New York.

“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,” according to a letter from his attorneys Michael Leonard and Steve Greenberg, to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly.

According to Yahoo Kelly’s remaining lawyers, Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker will still prep for his upcoming trial.

“In general, as a trial lawyer, you have to have a comfort level that the case will be tried in the manner in which you want it to be tried, by the people that you want to try it,” Leonard told BNC.

Leonard said that Kelly’s remaining attorneys have no experience in trying a federal criminal case.  Kelly confirmed to the judge that he wanted Leonard and Greenberg off his team. Yahoo reported that he fired both lawyers.

Prosecutors in New York accused the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer of running a scheme in which he recruited to have girls and women to have sex with him, according to Yahoo.

He’s pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges filed against him.