.R. Kelly now officially has a new defense team–less than a month before his trial’s scheduled to begin– and one of his lawyers is already getting attention.
As previously reported, two of R. Kelly‘s longtime attorneys–Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard–filed to withdraw from the singer’s case last month. It appears as though the filing was done in response to tensions within the larger legal team, as Steve Greenberg tweeted:
Now, a judge has officially granted the lawyers’ request to get off the case. Yesterday (Thursday, July 15th), U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly approved Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard‘s request to withdraw. As such, they are officially no longer part of R. Kelly‘s defense team.
Despite Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard‘s request barely being approved, R. Kelly‘s case had already been essentially taken over by his new attorneys–Thomas Farinella, Nicole Blank Becker, and Deveraux Cannick. This new defense team recently accused R. Kelly‘s now-former attorneys of withholding paperwork and denying the singer access to mental health services. However, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard vehemently denied these allegations–causing the internal feud to rage on.
Meanwhile, during a recent pre-trial hearing Nicole Blank Becker referred to two of the women connected to R. Kelly’s case as “girls”, which Judge Donnelly made clear is inappropriate. She told the lawyer to call them “women.” When Becker called them “girls” again, Judge Donnelly said,
“It is 2021. We are talking about women in their 20s.”
Becker apologized and pointed out that she hadn’t talked to the ladies since 2019, adding;
“Sorry judge. It’s been two years.”
Still, Judge Donnelly told her,
“They were women then too.”
The hearing speculated whether Becker had a conflict of interest because she spoke to the ladies in question, Azriel Clary (who parted ways with him last year) and Joycelyn Savage, back in 2019 via text and FaceTime. Azriel Clary is described as Jane Doe #5 and said she was a victim of R. Kelly’s alleged abuse. Joycelyn Savage is a possible witness for the singer’s defense.
R. Kelly is due in court on Aug. 9th for his federal trial, which is taking place in Brooklyn. The disgraced singer is charged with racketeering, child sexual exploitation, kidnapping, bribery, and forced labor. Additionally, he’s facing separate charges in Illinois and Minnesota. However, he denies all allegations against him.
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Article via theJasmineBRAND