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Jussie Smollett finally appeals his conviction stemming from 2019 hate-crime hoax


Nearly a year after being sentenced to 150 days in jail for lying to police about orchestrating a hate crime against himself, former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett has officially appealed his December 2021 conviction.

Lawyers for the 40-year-old actor filed a petition and argument Wednesday with the Illinois 1st District Appellate Court to allow Smollett a new trial with a new judge, arguing that the court “committed a reversible error” in handling his case and was “outrageous” in his sentencing.

His attorneys, Nenye E. Uche and Heather A. Widell, argued that the renewed prosecution, a second charge against Smollett, and additional punishment violated the actor’s rights to due process, in part because a “binding” non- prosecution agreement was not enforced. and that Smollett was in double jeopardy. They also objected to the controversial appointment of a special prosecutor in the case.

“If Mr. Smollett’s convictions are upheld, this case will set a dangerous precedent by giving prosecutors a second bite of the apple whenever there is dissatisfaction with another prosecutor’s discretion,” his lawyers wrote in the letter and the argument, that was posted online on the court’s website.

Smollett’s legal team also cited several other issues in the 102-page document, alleging that the prosecution dismissed the questioning of the defense seeking to establish homophobia in the case, arbitrarily enforced COVID-19 protocols at trial , black and gay would-be jurors fired and should not have allowed Smollett’s jam-packed “Good Morning America” ​​interview to be played during jury deliberations.

Last year, Smollett, who is gay and black, was released early after serving six days of his 150-day prison sentence pending his appeal. His appeal was due to be filed last August, but his lawyers have had five extensions to that deadline. CNN reported.

After a nearly two-week trial during the pandemic, Smollett was convicted in late 2021 on charges of committing a racist attack on himself on a freezing night in January 2019 and lying about it to Chicago police. The actor-singer maintained his innocence throughout the case, saying in court testimony that “there was no deceit”.

He was found guilty of five of six charges of disorderly conduct — one charge for each time he allegedly lied to police in the days immediately after alleging the hate crime. He was acquitted on a sixth count. Smollett claimed to police that two assailants beat him, wrapped a rope around his neck and splashed him with a liquid chemical.

Brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were originally suspected of being the attackers; however, they claimed that Smollett, who knew one of the brothers from the work, she paid $3,500 to stage the attack.

The trial included the testimony of five Chicago Police Department officers, the Osundairo brothers and Smollett himself, as well as six of his witnesses.

Smollett was not remanded in custody when the sentence was returned in December 2021, but remained at large until sentenced in March 2022. Cook County Judge James Linn called Smollett a “charlatan” who “craved the attention” during the sentencing hearing, and Smollett overturned the verdict, reaffirming his innocence.

“If I did this, it means I spent more than 400 years putting my fist into the fears of Black Americans in this country. And the fears of the LGBT community,” Smollett said at the hearing.

“Your Honor, I respect you and I respect the jury, but I didn’t do this,” he added. “And I’m not suicidal. And if anything happens to me when I go in there, I didn’t do it to myself and you all need to know that.

The jail term imposed was intended to be part of Smollett’s first 30 months of felony probation. Linn also agreed to an order for Smollett to pay more than $120,000 in restitution to the City of Chicago and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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