Actor Jussie Smollett’s criminal trial will move forward after a judge on Oct. 15 struck down the actor’s effort to dismiss the case against him.
Smollett in early 2019 made headlines after he told police officers in Chicago that he was attacked by two white men who shouted epithets at him. However, several weeks later, Smollett, who is black, was charged with one felony count of lying to authorities after officers uncovered evidence that suggested the incident had been staged.
After initial charges against him were dropped by Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, a special prosecutor was appointed and charged him with felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing false police reports about what happened. Smollett has denied the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
Foxx, who received funding from wealthy left-wing financier George Soros for her reelection campaign, came under criticism for her handling of the case. The special prosecutor concluded that while she and her office did nothing criminal, they did abuse their discretion and made false statements about the case.
On Oct. 15, Judge James Linn said that Smollett’s case now is being handled by a special prosecutor and stated he wouldn’t interfere, according to reporters. Smollett’s trial was set for Nov. 29.
One of the actor’s lawyers, Nenye Uche, said Smollett had been offered a nonprosecution deal by prosecutors who had previously served in Cook County. Uche argued that Smollett had given up a $10,000 bond and performed community service under the deal.
Smollett being “hauled back into court again” is a violation of his due process rights, Uche argued in court, USA Today reported.
“It’s as clear as day—this case should be dismissed because of an immunity agreement,” Uche said. “A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle.”
But Sean Wieber, an attorney with the special prosecutor’s office, said Uche’s claim should be dismissed.
“We have already dealt with this before,” he said, according to the report. “Nothing we’ve heard today changes one iota [of the case]. This can be comfortably denied.”
Amid widespread speculation that Smollett promoted the hoax to advance his career, the actor was later written out of “Empire,” which subsequently went off the air. Smollett also is fighting a civil lawsuit from the city of Chicago, which claims the actor owes the city tens of thousands of dollars to cover police costs during the investigation.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the jury selection phase of Smollett’s trial would start in early November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.