Jussie Mollett will begin Chicago trials in the late November after his request was denied by the judge. Latest motion to dismiss disorderly behavior charges stemming from an alleged hate crime hoax he reported in 2019.
During a mostly behind-closed-doors virtual hearing in Chicago Friday, Judge James Linn allowed one of the newest members of Smollett’s sprawling team of defense lawyers, Nenye Uche, to plead for dismissal again.
Among his most passionate arguments, Uche said Smollett had been offered a non-prosecution deal by previous prosecutors in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and that Smollett had kept his side of the bargain, having already performed community service and given up a $10,000 bond under the deal.
To be “hauled back into court again” amounted to a violation of his due process rights, Uche argued.
“It’s as clear as day – this case should be dismissed because of an immunity agreement,” Uche said. It’s a deal. That’s ancient principle.”
Uche said that it was wrong to reward the state for “duping people” by promising not to keep their promises.
Sean Wieber is an attorney at the office of the special prosecutor. He said Uche’s argument may be “summarily rejected.”
He stated, “We have dealt with this before.” “Nothing we heard today has changed one bit (of the case). This can be comfortably denied.”
Judge Linn agreed. He said he had read Uche’s brief and concluded he had already dealt with previous motions to dismiss by earlier attorneys citing similar arguments to Uche’s.
“I deny the motion to disqualify,” he stated.
Smollett’s personal trial will begin on Nov. 29, in Linn’s courtroom. This room is open to the media, press and public but remains closed to Smollett.
Smollett (39) has pleaded guilty.
The former “Empire” star is accused of lying to police and filing a false report about being the victim of a racist, anti-gay assault in January 2019 in downtown Chicago, where “Empire” was filmed.
Smollett has endured lasting injuries to his career, which have not been fully repaired. He was also written out of the “Empire” program, which was later cancelled.
He is also still pursuing a civil suit from Chicago. The city claims that he owes more than $130,000 to the city for overtime expenses incurred by police while investigating his case.
Initially, Smollett had been treated as a victim by the police. But then they became suspicious and decided it was a hoax.
A few weeks later, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who had recused herself after a conversation with a member of Smollett’s family, dropped the initial charges against Smollett, setting off a tsunami of outrage by police, politicians and the public.
Eventually a special prosecutor, former federal prosecutor Dan Webb, was appointed to look into whether Smollett should be recharged and whether Foxx or her prosecutors had acted improperly. Foxx, her office and the investigation were not criminally charged. However, he concluded that they abused their discretion by making false statements and denying any wrongdoing.
Webb retried the Smollett charges, which led to the trial taking place almost three years later.
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