R. Kelly says he wants to replace half of his legal team two months ahead of trial


(NCS) — Singer R. Kelly spoke briefly at a court docket listening to Wednesday, saying he approves of a major change in his legal team simply two months earlier than his federal trial in Brooklyn is ready to start.

Half of his legal team, attorneys Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, requested to withdraw from the case with a court docket submitting on Monday night. Greenberg instructed NCS Monday he felt that Kelly was “insistent that we work with people who we felt would be rendering in effective assistance as counsel.”

Leonard instructed NCS that he and Greenberg had been “not comfortable giving responsibility to those who haven’t tried a lot of federal criminal jury cases.”

But Kelly’s remaining attorneys, Tom Farinella and Nicole Blank Becker, instructed the court docket throughout a phone standing convention that Kelly had terminated Greenberg and Leonard final week prior to the attorneys’ request to withdraw from the case.

“He (Kelly) does not wish to have Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Leonard represent him,” Farinella stated on the listening to. “We’re prepared to move forward with the trial so it will not affect the administration of the court’s calendar or the trial date.”

Kelly faces a number of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges, together with violations of the Mann Act, which prohibits trafficking folks throughout state traces for prostitution or sexual exercise.

He’s being held with out bail in federal prison in Chicago, the place he additionally faces federal and state expenses. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Prosecutors stated on the listening to Wednesday they anticipate Kelly to be moved to a facility in New York shortly earlier than his Brooklyn trial begins.

Greenberg stated he and Leonard obtained a doc from somebody “claiming to be power of attorney” for Kelly final week, and that when the attorneys went to discuss to Kelly, “he wouldn’t meet with us.” Donnelly stated she had not obtained notification that the attorneys had been terminated.

Greenberg stated on the listening to that after he and Leonard filed a movement to withdraw, he obtained an e mail from Kelly “indicating that he did not want us to continue on the matter.”

Kelly confirmed to US District Judge Ann Donnelly that his want was to proceed ahead with Becker and Farinella.

“I apologize for the confusion,” Kelly stated. “I’m thankful that you’re giving me a chance to say something about it.”

Kelly was rapidly minimize off by Donnelly, who warned him to seek the advice of with his attorneys earlier than talking.

Donnelly additionally requested Greenberg and Leonard to file a movement outlining another issues they’ve with Kelly’s present legal illustration.

Greenberg additionally cited issues that contain well being issues of one of the attorneys who would stay on Kelly’s team.

“It came down to the point where we were discussing witness assignments. Frankly, everyone wants to do opening, everyone wants to do closing and that just can’t be because there’s just one of each,” Greenberg stated. “We also have some concerns with certain of the members of the defense have documented some mental health issues where they can’t deal with stress. We didn’t want to give them the most important witnesses because … they shut down in those situations.”

Farinella, in response to Greenberg’s assertion, despatched this assertion to NCS: “My mental health problems from over a decade ago and the resulting disciplinary matter have nothing to do with this case or my ability to effectively and competently represent Mr. Kelly.”

Donnelly will want to approve of the change in Kelly’s legal team however stated that she wouldn’t additional delay the trial. Jury questioning is scheduled to start on August 9 and the trial is scheduled to start on August 11.

This story was first printed on NCS.com, “R. Kelly says he wants to replace half of his legal team two months ahead of trial.”

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