20°C / 22°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 12°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 26°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 31°C
  • 19°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 18°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 11°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 26°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 29°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 18°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 20°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 22°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 21°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 19°C
  • Sun
  • 26°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Thu
  • 35°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 36°C
  • 20°C
  • Sat
  • 31°C
  • 16°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 29°C
  • 17°C
  • Fri
  • 32°C
  • 20°C
  • Sat
  • 27°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 24°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 11°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 28°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 27°C
  • 10°C
  • Sat
  • 28°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 32°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 35°C
  • 15°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 18°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 16°C

Smollett pleads not guilty to new Chicago hoax charges; seeks stay, dismissal

The new charges emerged after a five-month investigation by a court-appointed special prosecutor who overruled a decision by the state’s attorney’s office last year to dismiss the original case.

Flanked by attorneys and supporters, actor Jussie Smollett walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after pleading not guilty to a new indictment on 24 February 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Picture: AFP

CHICAGO - Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty in a Chicago court on Monday to renewed felony charges that he made false reports to police about being attacked in a hate crime that he is accused of staging in a bid to advance his career.

The new charges emerged after a five-month investigation by a court-appointed special prosecutor who overruled a decision by the state’s attorney’s office last year to dismiss the original case.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Linn ordered a $20,000 bond against Smollett and set an 18 March hearing in the case. The 37-year-old actor was indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct on 11 February.

Smollett, wearing a black jacket, white shirt and black tie, spoke at the hearing only when the judge asked him a series of procedural questions to which he answered, “Yes, sir.”

Smollett, who is black and openly gay, has insisted he told the truth in his account of being accosted on a darkened street in January 2019 by two masked strangers.

According to Smollett, his assailants threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressions of support for President Donald Trump.

Police arrested Smollett a month later, accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in a hoax aimed at gaining public sympathy and raising his show-business profile.

Earlier on Monday, Smollett’s attorneys asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the proceedings against him to allow a hearing on a challenge to the appointment of the special prosecutor. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the request.

The appointment “was flawed and contrary to the statute,” Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, told a news conference after the hearing at the Cook County court.

“It’s very frustrating,” she added. “We are optimistic that the higher court will reverse.”

Glandian also submitted a motion to the circuit court to dismiss the case based on a double-jeopardy challenge, claiming that Smollett had already been punished in the original case by forfeiting his original $10,000 bond.

“He’s obviously frustrated, being dragged through this process again,” she said.

Smollett was charged in March 2019 in a 16-count indictment, but the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges three weeks later in exchange for forfeiting his bail without admitting wrongdoing.

The dismissal drew an outcry from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent, who branded the reversal a miscarriage of justice, leading a Cook County judge to appoint former US Attorney Dan Webb to review the case.

Webb said he determined that further prosecution of Smollett was warranted, calling into question prosecutors’ judgment in dropping the original case.

Smollett lost his role as a singer-songwriter in Empire, a Fox television hip-hop drama, after accusations arose against him.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus