R. Kelly’s Lawyers Ask To Be Taken Off Sex Trafficking Case Just Months Before It Starts

by : Emily Brown on : 08 Jun 2021 11:48
R. Kelly's Lawyers Ask To Be Taken Off Sex Trafficking CasePA Images

R. Kelly’s lawyers have asked to withdraw from the singer’s sex trafficking case just two months before it is due to begin. 

Chicago-based lawyers Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard both asked to be taken off the case in a letter written to US District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York, in which they explained that their reasons for withdrawal are ‘significant’.


Kelly is facing charges of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, forced labour, kidnapping, enticement, and bribery, and is set to go to trial on August 9. Kelly is also being represented by attorneys Douglas Anton, Thomas Farinella, and Nicole Becker.

R. Kelly appears in court (PA Images)PA Images

The reason for the two lawyers’ departure from the team is reportedly due to a clash with other members, with Greenberg and Leonard telling TMZ that they ‘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’.

They continued, ‘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. We wish Mr. Kelly nothing but the greatest success.’


In the letter to the federal judge, cited by ABC 7 Chicago, Greenberg and Leonard wrote, ‘It is impossible, in our belief, for us to be able to continue to properly represent Mr. Kelly under the current circumstances.’

Further addressing the matter in a statement, Greenberg said:

Ultimately, as trial lawyers and in the interests of the client, we weren’t comfortable professionally with allowing lawyers who have never tried federal criminal cases to have significant trial responsibilities. That approach was not to everyone’s liking.


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The letter refers to Kelly’s New York trial, but Greenberg said that he plans to make a similar request to be removed from the judge presiding over Kelly’s case in Chicago, where the singer is facing separate charges of sexual abuse.

The remaining lawyers on the team have claimed Kelly terminated both Greenberg and Leonard prior to them sending the letter to the judge, though the judge is yet to sign off on their departure.

Kelly remains in custody while he awaits his trial.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, Chicago, New York, Now, R Kelly, Sex Trafficking


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