R&B superstar Robert Sylvester Kelly, popularly called R. Kelly has on Wednesday told a judge that he’s fired two among four members of his legal team ahead of his trial in the month ahead in Brooklyn on sex abuse charges.
R. Kelly told judge Ann Donnelly during a Brooklyn federal court telephone hearing that he wished to disengage two of his criminal defence lawyers; Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard.
Judge Donnelly asked the King of R&B to confirm his decision … asking “Is that what your wish is?” …to which Kelly, 54, responded, “Absolutely, yes ma’am, your honour.”
Meanwhile, Greenberg alleged during the hearing that someone on the defence team had “documented mental health issues” and “can’t deal with stress.”
However, Judge Donnelly ordered Greenberg and Leonard to file documents in the case further elaborating on the reason for their exits.
According to TMZ on Monday, Greenberg and Leonard filed papers requesting permission to be let off the case over a misunderstanding they had with Kelly’s two other lawyers, Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker.
“We refused to try a case with lawyers who don’t have the appropriate level of experience and skill because that is not in the client’s best interest. It is a shame that lawyers can’t suppress their own egos or self-interest and do or act in the client’s best interest,” Greenberg and Leonard claimed.
“The only comment we have at this time is that Mr Kelly terminated both lawyers prior to filing their motion,” Farinella and Becker told TMZ when they were asked to comment on the departure of Greenberg and Leonard.
The unbeatable King of R&B and three-time Grammy award winner awaits trial in Brooklyn on Aug. 9 on alleged charges of sex trafficking and racketeering for allegedly running a scheme to recruit underage girls to engage in sex acts.
The trial was originally scheduled for May 2020 but has been delayed repeatedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Kelly remains in jail. However, Farinella and Becker have assured the judge that they would continue preparing for that date as Judge Donnelly said she would not postpone the trial anymore.
R. Kelly will also face criminal cases in Chicago and in Minnesota on additional sexual misconduct allegations, but for now, the singer has pleaded not guilty in all of the charges while he awaits trial in jail for two years.