r kelly tells the judge he fired his defence lawyers ahead of his august trial.



by Helvine Achieng June 11, 2021

American singer songwriter and record producer,R. Kelly has recently told a federal judge that he fired two of his defence lawyers, exposing deep rifts in the singer's legal defence team ahead of his August sex abuse trial in New York. The singer confirmed to the U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn that he fired Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, leaving him with two defence lawyers.

"Is that what your wish is?" Donnelly asked Kelly during a hearing conducted by telephone.

"Absolutely, yes ma'am, your honor," he responded.

On Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Chicago-based lawyers Steve Greenberg, and Michael Leonard asked to withdraw from the case, but it was later claimed by one of the remaining attorneys that they were both fired before they could quit. And the third lawyer, New Jersey attorney Douglas Anton, was revealed on Tuesday to no longer be part of the team for the New York case.

Steve Greenberg, who was due to serve on the defence for Kelly's second court case in Chicago, Illinois, where he is facing charges including child pornography, told the Chicago Sun-Times that prosecutors were informed of his and Leonard's decision 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."

The hearing briefly included allegations by Greenberg that unidentified members of the defence team had "documented mental health issues" and "can't deal with stress."

The Grammy Award-winning singer has pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges in cases filed in New York, Illinois and Minnesota, and has been held without bail for nearly two years.

Brooklyn prosecutors accused Kelly of running a criminal scheme in which women and underage girls were recruited to have sexual activity with him.

The Chicago case includes charges that Kelly engaged in sex acts with five minors and used threats to keep victims quiet. Kelly's remaining lawyers, Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker said they would keep preparing for the scheduled Aug. 9 trial.

According to court records, a trial is scheduled for September, but the judge has asked both sides to propose a new date.