connectVideo2e Court holds hearing for possible special prosecutor in Jussi Smollett case
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin could rule that an out-of-county prosecutor should investigate the Smollett criminal proceedings, and why Kim Foxx office quietly dropped the 16 crime against the ‘Empire’ star; Matt Finn reports from Chicago.
An Illinois judge on Thursday ordered “Empire” actor Jussi Smollett’s criminal file is opened, the setting up of the release of a wealth of information around the controversial — and often confusing — case.
Cook County judge Steven G. Watkins’ decision came months after a dizzying series of events: First, Smollett claimed he would be the victim of a hate crime; after an extensive investigation, Chicago police arrested Smollett and accused him of the forgery of the alleged attack; and then, Cook County prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges Smollett and his case was closed.
But not any more, at least quickly.
When the state attorney asked whether the office can have more time to redact personal information from the files, Watkins advised the officers of justice to “act as if the documents were never sealed in the first place.”
In January, Smollett made national headlines when he filed a police report alleging the two masked men attacked him with a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him, he ran to the house of a fast food restaurant. Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made racist and homophobic comments, and shouted, “This is a BIG country” – a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — before fleeing the scene.
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But if the police are investigating the case further, she began by taking a look at Smollett.
Surveillance video allegedly revealed to brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who lived in Smollett’s apartment building, purchase of rope similar to the kind used during the alleged attack. Eventually, the brothers allegedly told the police Smollett paid them to help him fake the attack.
Smollett was arrested for allegedly filing a false tax return and faces 16 counts of disorderly conduct, arising out of the incident. But during a short and a wonderful sense of hearing, the office of Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx drop the charges against Smollett, although his bail was revoked.
Smollett has maintained his innocence and insisted the hate attack was real. But the city of Chicago is suing the actor in an attempt to recoup funds paid to the investigation of the alleged hoax.
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Meanwhile, the brothers who are involved in the incident complain Smollett the lawyers for defamation.
Fox News’ Kyle Rothenberg and Jessica Sager contributed to this report.