Two of R. Kelly’s lawyers have requested to withdraw from counsel in the R&B singer’s sex crimes case, saying it is “impossible” for them to continue to “properly represent” their client, according to several reports.
Fox News reported Mike Leonardo and Steven Greenberg have asked a New York judge to permit them to step down from representing R. Kelly, who faces multiple criminal charges including child sexual exploitation, child pornography production, and kidnapping.
Steven Greenberg indicated the reason for their departure was disagreement among the attorneys representing the singer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“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,” Greenberg said in a statement to the Sun-Times. “That approach was not to everyone’s liking.”
In a statement to Fox News, the remaining attorneys said Kelly fired the two lawyers. “The only comment we have at this time is that Mr. Kelly terminated both lawyers prior to filing their motion,” they said.
Greenberg and Leonard have disputed this assertion, telling Fox News that they “were not” terminated by the singer.
Kelly, who was arrested in 2019, faces accusations that he and his associates recruited women and underage girls for sex. He has pleaded not guilty to the federal and state charges.
A trial is set to take place in New York in August, after being moved from Chicago.