Wednesday, June 9th 2021
Detention for abuse
R. Kelly loses two lawyers
Two versions, both of which cannot be true: R&B singer R. Kelly, accused of abuse, claims before the trial that he has fired two of his lawyers. The lawyers explain something else. Either way, the former superstar’s defense team doesn’t have an easy job.
A few months before the currently scheduled start of the trial, two lawyers are said to be leaving the defense team of former pop superstar R. Kelly. That happens at his request, said the musician (“I Believe I Can Fly”) at a telephone hearing US media reports according to the New York judge Ann Donnelly. Defenders Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard had previously said that they wanted to leave the team at their own request – among other things because of disagreements with the two remaining defenders Thomas Farinella and Nicole Becker. Judge Donnelly then asked lawyers Greenberg and Leonard to justify their withdrawal request in writing.
The trial against the singer in New York, which was originally scheduled for May 2020 and has already been postponed several times in the corona pandemic, is currently scheduled for August. Kelly, who has been in custody in Chicago since last summer, is charged, among other things, with the sexual abuse of minors – but protests his innocence and has already pleaded not guilty on several occasions. Long indictments have also been filed against Kelly in Chicago and Minnesota. The musician had repeatedly asked for early release on bail because of the pandemic, but failed each time. The 54-year-old singer faces a prison sentence of up to 70 years if convicted.
The defense of Robert Sylvester Kelly, as his native name is, has to react to new details that weigh heavily on the accused. Kelly, his team and some fans are said to have molested, blackmailed and sometimes threatened with death his alleged victims and their families if they did not withdraw the allegations against the singer. Kelly’s ex-manager was also arrested in the middle of last year.
He is said to have threatened a movie theater with a shooting in 2018 if a critical documentary about the singer was shown there. After the US broadcaster Lifetime showed the three-part documentary series in January 2019, Kelly’s record company ended the collaboration with her former music superstar. With around 50 million albums sold and numerous awards, Kelly was considered one of the most successful R&B artists for years.