Two of R. Kelly’s attorneys have requested to withdraw from the star’s counsel.
Mike Leonardo and Steven Greenberg confirmed to Fox News on Monday that they have asked a New York judge to allow them to step aside in the case.
In a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times written by Greenberg to Judge Ann Donnelly, the Chicago-based attorney said that should the court deem it fit, he and Leonardo would stand “as effective stand-by counsel.”
“While we recognize that this request comes close to trial – and we are ready to proceed to trial as scheduled in August – 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,” he said.
“The government was advised of our position and reasons in a phone call,” Greenberg continued. “We are requesting that the court set our request for hearing.”
“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,” the attorney told the Sun-Times. “That approach was not to everyone’s liking.”
Echoed Leonard: “Ultimately, as trial lawyers and in the interests of the client, we were only comfortable professionally with giving significant trial responsibilities to those who have substantial federal criminal jury trial experience. We wish Mr. Kelly nothing but the greatest success.”
The exact reasons for the lawyers’ request are currently unclear, but Greenberg has been vocal about his displeasure with the trial on Twitter in the past.