Jussie Smollett Legal Team Files Appeal in Hate Crime Hoax Conviction
Celebrity Justice news and updates reveal that Jussie Smollett’s legal team has filed an appeal brief laying out their argument in opposition to the Empire star’s hate crime hoax conviction. Continue reading and we’ll give you the low down.
Were Jussie Smollett’s Rights Violated?
Celebrity Justice news and updates reveal that, according to MSN, Smollett’s legal team asserts in court documents that his “renewed prosecution” violated the actor’s right to due process.
They added that the “judge improperly denied [Smollett’s] motion for substitution of judge for cause” arguing that the circuit court judge had a bias towards Smollett.
The appeal claims that the bias rendered “every subsequent ruling and action, in this case, null and void.” A jury in a nearly two-week-long trial in 2021 found Jusse Smollett guilty of five of the six charges of disorderly conduct for making a false report to police.
Why Was Jusse Smollett Originally Charged?
Smollett, who is gay as well as black, claimed the two men attacked him yelling racist, anti-gay slurs. He further claimed that the two men put a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him. The police, believing it to be a hate crime at the time, poured significant resources into locating the perpetrators and solving the case.
However, after finding and interviewing the men, as well as finding more evidence, police determined instead that Smollett had paid the men $3,500 to stage the hate crime so that he could garner publicity to give his career a boost.
Smollett’s legal team further argued that he was subjected to double jeopardy, taking issue with the appointment of a special prosecutor, and arguing that his sentence was excessive (via CNN). The actor’s attorneys argued that it was he who was the victim and that the men saw him as a “mark” or a “target.”
After being sentenced in March 2022 to 30 months of felony probation, including 150 days in jail, and ordered to pay more than $120,000 in restitution plus a fine of $25,000 – Smollett was released from jail in less than a week. An Illinois appeals court granted the actor an emergency motion to delay his sentence and grant him bail until they reached a resolution on appeal.
Should Jusse Smollett Prosecutors Make up Their Minds?
Smollett’s attorneys wrote in their appeal, “If Mr. Smollett’s convictions are allowed to stand, this case will set a dangerous precedent by giving prosecutors a second bite at the apple any time there is dissatisfaction with another prosecutor’s exercise of discretion.”
They were referring, in the statement, to the local prosecutor dropping the 16 initial charges against Smollett on March 26, 2019. Be sure and stay up to speed on this and other dramatic stories. Return here often for more celebrity justice news and updates.