Nicole Blank Becker was the head of the sex crimes unit when she left the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office last year.
Now, the private-practice attorney in Bingham Farms is defending one of the country’s most well-known R&B singers — R. Kelly — in an alleged sex crime case.
The singer was charged in Chicago in February with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, including three who were underage. He has pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing.
Blank Becker is one of six attorneys for the singer, and the only one currently from Michigan.
She said she worked for the Legal Aid Defender Office in Detroit and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office before joining the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office in 2005 and then moving to private practice in 2018..
The Oakland County resident, who focuses on sex crime cases throughout metro Detroit at her firm, Blank Law PC, said she started representing Kelly in March.
The Free Press emailed Blank Becker a few questions about her high-profile client:
Q: How did you come to represent R. Kelly?
A: Judge Vonda Evans, whom (I) have known since practicing in Detroit, had a connection to the R. Kelly camp. She immediately thought of me because of my experience with sex crimes. I had a number of meetings with Robert and then I was part of the team.
Q: How many times have you met with him, and what is he like?
A: I have met and spoke to Robert several times, too many to count. Robert happens to be a very intelligent, passionate and talented guy. Robert is human, he has his bad days, but for the most part he is working on his albums and thankful for his fans.
Q: Did you watch the docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” and, if so, what did you think of it and R. Kelly – before and then after meeting with your client?
A: I did watch the Lifetime Show. I found it disturbing and I strongly support victims of abuse coming forward. Having met Robert, after the show aired, there are definitely three sides to every story and the public at this point had only heard one.
Q: What did you think about R. Kelly’s outburst during the broadcast interview with Gayle King?
A: I consider the Robert Kelly that the world saw on (Gayle) King was a human outburst of emotion. Robert has been ostracized, blackballed and unable to work in order to support his children and himself. He finally got to the point where his emotions took over. We have all experienced a moment of breaking down, but typically during those delicate moments the whole world is not watching.
Q: What can you tell us about the case and R. Kelly’s side of the story?
A: I cannot speak about the facts of the case at all.
Q: You used to put accused sex offenders in prison, now you’re defending them. How did you make that transition?
A: I use the exact same skills, searching for truth and justice. Everyone I defend is not guilty. Anyone who is suspected of committing a crime has a right to have their rights protected. That is what I do, no matter what side I am on.
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Contact Christina Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.