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R. Kelly moved to Brooklyn jail ahead of trial, adds new lawyer to team


By Sonia Moghe, CNN

R. Kelly has been moved from a detention center in Chicago to New York where he will likely stay ahead of his August federal trial as he adds another New York-based attorney to his legal team.

Two sources familiar with the matter said Kelly arrived at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, and that he will likely stay there until his federal racketeering trial begins in August.

CNN has reached out to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and to an attorney for Kelly for comment on the move.

Kelly, a Chicago native, has been held at the MCC Chicago for much of the time since his arrest in 2019 on federal charges involving racketeering, sex trafficking and obstruction. He was indicted in both Illinois and New York.

At a June 17 Curcio hearing in Brooklyn, which is meant to address possible conflicts involving attorneys on a case, US District Judge Ann Donnelly asked for Kelly to be moved to New York so that she can conduct an in-person conflict hearing with him regarding his attorneys, and so that he can meet with his attorneys about the process in person. He has been appearing by video conference for hearings during the pandemic.

The conflict hearing came on the heels of changes to Kelly’s legal team. Two Chicago-based attorneys, Steve Greenberg and Michael Leonard, asked to withdraw from Kelly’s case, while Kelly’s remaining attorneys, Tom Farinella and Nicole Blank Becker, said Kelly had fired Greenberg and Leonard. The conflict hearing was set to address alleged past interactions that Becker may have with witnesses who may be asked to testify in the trial, something she has denied.

On Tuesday, New York attorney Deveraux Cannick, a former assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, filed a notice that he would be joining Kelly’s legal team. CNN has reached out to Cannick for comment.

The court has also appointed another attorney, Ilana Haramati, to temporarily give Kelly independent legal counsel during the attorney conflict hearing, Farinella said. CNN has reached out to Haramati for comment.

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