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Longtime lawyers for R. Kelly decide to drop case as trial approaches

Judge Donnelly said on Wednesday the trial date would not be postponed despite the possible late upheaval. “It looks like no one is asking for an adjournment of the trial, which I wouldn’t grant under any circumstances,” the judge said.

Mr Greenberg had represented Mr Kelly, 54, since 2018, before being indicted in the criminal case. But he and Mr Leonard said their joint departure was spurred by the turmoil with two other lawyers in the case, who they said lacked federal trial experience and had started demanding a larger and more forward-looking role in the trial.

“Frankly, everyone wants to be the first president, everyone wants to make the opening, everyone wants to do the closing,” Mr. Greenberg said during the hearing, “and that just can’t be . “

The two men had twice sought to discuss these concerns with Mr Kelly, Mr Greenberg said. But the singer rejected both attempts to meet him. “It’s unfortunate because these other people have no idea,” Greenberg said in an interview. “But it’s his choice. You cannot save someone from themselves.

At the hearing, one of the two lawyers who subsequently joined the case, Nicole Becker, called the comments “inappropriate” on the whole. In a statement, she and fourth lawyer Thomas A. Farinella said the case should have been moot: Mr Kelly had already ended the other two in the case last week, they said.

When asked by the judge if he wanted to go ahead with only half of his legal team, Mr. Kelly replied, “Absolutely, yes, ma’am. “

Ms Becker and Mr Farinella did not immediately respond to requests for further comment after the hearing.

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