UPDATE:Philly.com is reporting that Riley’s former assistant Christopher Mapp has taken responsibility for sending out the Mumia tweet.
He also told Philly.com that Riley was booted from the show on Jan. 31.
A lawyer representing the Philly-based contestant from The Voice who disappeared mysteriously from the show this week says his client is recording music with a friend in Pittsburgh, and wants to return to the show.
Attorney Evan Shingles says Anthony Riley left the show for “health reasons.”
“He’s a street performer,” Shingles said. “He’s onstage and he’s getting all this attention all of the sudden. I think that presented some issues for him.”
But Shingles cautioned that he does not know everything about why his client left.
“I’m still trying to get a handle on what’s going on.”
Shingles, who is primarily a civil rights attorney, represented Riley after he was arrested for singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Going to Come” in Rittenhouse Square. Riley later sued the city, and the case was settled out of court.
Riley scored the fastest four chair turnarounds during the blind audition rounds of in the show’s history, performing the James Brown classic “I Got You (I Feel Good).
Two rumors surrounded Riley’s departure from The Voice. The first was that Riley left over tweets of support for imprisoned cop killer and political activist Mumia Abu Jamal. The second is that Riley did not want to be paired with fellow-contestant Mia Z.
Shingles said both rumors are false.
Riley’s twitter account, Shingles said, was hacked by a “disgruntled” former manager.
“When I say somebody hacked his accounts, I know that sounds ridiculous, it sounds like an excuse,” Shingles said. “He’s apolitical. The fact that he was singing a Sam Cooke song with political ramifications is a happy accident that I could use in court.”
As to rumors that Riley wouldn’t partner with Mia Z, Shingles said “He wants to compete.”
Shingles said he’s heard some of the music Riley is recording.
“He’s recording with an eye toward releasing some music.”