A new lawyer for a disgraced R&B singer Robert “R.” Kelly wants his client’s impending trial to be delayed due to a confluence of factors stemming from recent changes to the defense team.
“We are writing to request a postponement of the start of Robert Kelly’s trial”, Deveraux L. Cannick wrote in a letter to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday. “While he is anxious to move forward and respond to the charges against him, I am of the opinion that given my limited access to him and the circumstances of his detention, I have no problem. just not enough time to meet him adequately and also digest the massive discovery.
Cannick cites the COVID-19 mitigation measures underway at the Brooklyn lockdown where his client currently resides under a 14-day quarantine that began late last month.
“To properly prepare myself to face Robert Kelly’s accusers, I must have access to Mr. Kelly,” the motion continues. “Given his quarantine status, it was not possible for us to meet. Robert will be in quarantine for 14 days from the date of his arrival at MDC, Brooklyn. “
This quarantine regime is nearing completion, but the defense argues that the facilities at the Metropolitan Detention Center are overcrowded and not necessarily conducive to preparing for a vigorous defense.
“[W]As it is no longer in quarantine, the MDC has very few conference rooms to meet with us, ”Cannick explains. “If a room is not available, then we have to meet at a table with other lawyers and their respective clients. The nature of the evidence here does not lend itself to open discussion in such an environment. “
The seemingly cramped state of defense, however, is also a sort of self-inflicted injury. Kelly made headlines when he dumped two members of his longtime criminal defense team in early June – as his long-awaited trial quickly approaches and is set to begin on August 9, 2021.
Cannick admitted he understood the risks of joining the team so close to the trial, but frankly told the court he underestimated the scope of the work.
“Before agreeing to join Mr. Kelly’s defense team, I was aware of the date of the trial,” the petition continues. “Although I thought it would take a Herculean effort to pick up speed, I thought it would be possible to do it. However, with Mr. Kelly not being available and the limited access that would be available to meet with him effectively, we wouldn’t have enough time to seriously prepare for an August 9 trial date.
Citing constitutional standards for felony defendants, defense appears to be making an effort to persuade the district judge Ann M. Donnelly that failure to comply with the request for a delay could constitute a procedural ground for appealing an unfavorable result.
“The charges here are serious,” the motion notes. “The consequences are dire. Mr. Kelly has not only the right to counsel of his own choosing, but also the right to effective and meaningful representation. The aforementioned circumstances deprive him of these rights.
“Therefore, we respectfully request an adjournment of the trial date so that he can prepare and adequately assist in his defense,” the motion concludes. “My request is by no means a delaying tactic. As I mentioned earlier, Robert is eager to have his day in court; however not to the detriment of his Sixth Amendment rights. In the interests of fair play, Robert Kelly respectfully requests that his trial date be postponed.
[image via Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images]
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