R. Kelly's lawyers request to withdraw from NY racketeering trial; others say they were fired

NEW YORK -- The Chicago-based lawyers representing R. Kelly in his New York trial have asked to withdraw from the case.

In a letter to a federal judge in New York, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard asked to step back from the case.

"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 wrote in a letter to the judge.

Kelly is set to appear in August on federal sex trafficking charges.

Greenberg said in a statement: "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. That approach was not to everyone's liking."

Greenberg also said that he plans on making a similar request with the judge presiding over Kelly's case here in Chicago.

The remaining lawyers, however, said the two were terminated.

Two other attorneys remain a part of Kelly's legal team - Tom Farinella and Nicole Becker.

Farinella and Becker said in a joint statement to CNN, "The only comment we have at this time is that Mr. Kelly terminated both lawyers prior to filing their motion."

US District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who would need to approve Greenberg and Leonard's departure from the case, has set a status conference to discuss the matter on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Previous coverage:
R Kelly New York racketeering trial pushed again over COVID-19 concerns
R. Kelly cites coronavirus risk in request for release from Chicago jail

Reworked charges in Chicago cite another R. Kelly accuser in sex abuse case
R. Kelly's girlfriend charged after Trump Tower fight on singer's birthday
'Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning' premieres on Lifetime
Federal records reveal wide scope of R. Kelly racketeering investigation
R. Kelly hit with new bribery charges in NYC, prosecutors say

Judge denies bid to raise R. Kelly's bond in state case
R. Kelly trial date set on federal sex crimes charges filed in Chicago
R. Kelly facing new underage prostitution charges in Minnesota, prosecutors say
R. Kelly crisis manager stepping down
R. Kelly held without bond following Tuesday's arraignment on federal sex crime charges

CNN contributed to this report.
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