Two lead attorneys who have been working with R. Kelly have requested to withdraw from the embattled singer’s upcoming federal sex trafficking case in Brooklyn just two months before it is set to start.
Attorneys Steven Greenberg and Michael Leonard filed documents to withdraw, which have yet to be approved, on Monday.
“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,” Greenberg wrote to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly. The two Chicago-based attorneys also said that they “are willing to (serve) as effective stand-by counsel” if it’s deemed necessary by the court.
The request comes on the heels of Greenberg and Leonard reportedly having disagreements with the other attorneys that are on the team that’s defending Kelly.
“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,” the two attorneys said in a statement that was provided to TMZ. “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.”
Kelly is also represented by attorneys Douglas Anton, Thomas Farinella, and Nicole Becker. Those attorneys told TMZ that “Mr. Kelly terminated both lawyers prior to filing their motion.”
Greenberg and Leonard, both based out of Chicago, told the outlet they wish Kelly ‘nothing but the greatest success in their withdrawal from the case, as they said Farinella and Becker are inexperienced in federal criminal cases.
In their request to withdraw from Kelly’s team to U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, Greenberg and Leonard said they were ‘willing to (serve) as effective stand-by counsel,’ according to the Chicago Tribune.
Kelly’s New York trial is scheduled to start on August 9. He is facing charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, forced labor, kidnapping, enticement, and bribery.
R. Kelly, who is also facing sexual abuse charges in Chicago, has been held in custody at Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial.