FILE – In this March 26, 2019, file photo, actor Jussie Smollett talks to the media before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, in Chicago. On Friday, July 19, 2019, lawyers for Smollett filed motions contending the actor was the victim of an attack in an effort to convince a judge to reverse his decision to appoint a special prosecutor in the case. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett just got some not-so-good news after his latest attempt to avoid accountability for allegedly staging a racist and homophobic hate crime last year. On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected his request to dismiss the charges against him.
The actor’s lawyers had filed an emergency petition arguing that Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin overstepped the limits of his authority when he appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the case. The judge enlisted the prosecutor after Kim Foxx, the Cook County State’s attorney, made a series of questionable decisions regarding Smollett’s case.
Cook County prosecutors initially accused the actor of filing a false report with the police alleging that white Trump supporters had assaulted him after he left a Subway restaurant. He was charged sixteen counts of disorderly conduct, but Foxx’s office abruptly dismissed the charges. Judge Toomin found the first prosecution to be invalid.
Smollet, who is both gay and black, stated that his assaulters accosted him as he was walking home around 3 am. He alleged that these individuals shouted homophobic and racist epithets as they beat him and wrapped a noose around his neck. He stated that one of the attackers said that the actor was in “MAGA country.”
Later, police discovered that the actor paid two African brothers to help him fake the attack. According to the authorities, Smollett was not happy with the salary he was being paid for his work on the show “Empire.” The two brothers, Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo, are expected to testify before the jury if the case proceeds to trial.
When the reports of the alleged hate crime garnered national attention, many were skeptical of the actor’s story. While several celebrities on the left expressed support, others on both the left and the right were skeptical. As more information emerged, it became clear that Smollett’s story did not stand up to scrutiny. After the charges against him were dropped, many criticized the decision, rightly pointing out that justice was being flouted because of Smollett’s celebrity status and wealth.
But it appears that Smollett may not get off so easily, and there is a good chance that Foxx will not win her re-election efforts. If convicted, Smollett will be recognized as having pulled off the most high-profile fake hate crime in recent memory, and hopefully, his fate will discourage others who would consider performing similar hoaxes.
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