Jussie Smollett Hit With Crushing Blow by Federal Judge
Disgraced “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett just got some bad news in court on Friday when a judge shot down his attempt to have the latest criminal charges that have been filed against him thrown out. The judge ultimately ruled against this, telling Smollett that the new charges do not violate his right against double jeopardy, which means being charged twice for the same crime.
Fox News reported that Smollett’s lawyers first started making the double jeopardy argument back in February, when a special prosecutor charged him with six new indictments for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime in January of 2019. Smollett had claimed that he was jumped by two men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him while also shouting “this is MAGA country,” but police later concluded that he had allegedly staged the hate crime himself.
Cook County Judge James Linn ruled on Friday that the only way double jeopardy would apply here would be if Smollett was legally punished for what had happened to him after being charged for the 2019 incident. He determined that the deal, in which the state’s attorney’s office agreed to drop all charges without Smollett admitting any wrongdoing and the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond, did not amount to a legal punishment.
“There was no trial in this case, there was no jury empaneled, no witnesses were sworn, no evidence was heard, no guilty pleas were ever entered … nothing like that ever happened,” Linn said of last year’s case. “There was no adjudication of this case.”
Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian had said back in February that she was confidant the double jeopardy claim would hold up against these new charges.
“I do [think that can hold up in court],” she said at the time. “That’s why we filed the motion.”
Meanwhile, Smollett seemed confident that he would get off as well. When asked by TMZ if he still claims to be innocent, Smollett said, “I don’t claim to be innocent. I am innocent.”
Smollett is also currently embroiled in a legal battle against the city of Chicago, which is seeking more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating his report. An attorney for Smollett did not respond when asked for comment on the latest developments of this case.