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Two lawyers withdraw from R. Kelly’s legal team months before trial

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Two months before R. Kelly is scheduled to stand trial in a Brooklyn, New York, federal court on sex-abuse charges, two defense attorneys have decided to part with the singer’s legal team.

Good Morning America reports Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard filed a motion to withdraw from the case Monday. During a status conference Wednesday, the two lawyers told the judge they no longer wish to represent Kelly because of lack of cooperation with his two other lawyers.

“Everyone wants to do opening, everyone wants to do closing, and that just can’t be,” Greenberg said. “It got to the point where we went to discuss these concerns with Mr. Kelly. Mr. Kelly wouldn’t meet with us.”

Another defense attorney, Thomas Farinella, asserted that “Mr. Kelly terminated Mr. Greenberg and Mr. Leonard” in a notice sent to them last week.

Judge Anne Donnelly ordered the defense attorneys to file papers detailing their reasoning for the departure. In the motion to withdraw, Greenberg wrote, “While we realize that this request comes close to trial — and although 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.”

Greenberg told ABC News that he and Leonard decided to withdraw from the case before Kelly terminated them.

When Donnelly asked Kelly, who was present for the hearing, if he planned to continue with defense attorneys Farinella and Nicole Becker, he responded, “Absolutely, yes, ma’am.”

Kelly’s New York trial begins on August 9 for allegedly trafficking women and underage girls to engage in illegal sex acts. Kelly is also set for trial in September in Chicago, where he’s charged with several sex-abuse counts.

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