Jussie Smollett Is Going to Trial

Judge refuses to dismiss case
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2020 3:36 PM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2021 3:00 PM CDT
Smollett Insists Attack Was No Hoax
Actor Jussie Smollett waves to supporters as he leaves Cook County Court in March 2019.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)

(Newser) Update: Jussie Smollett is going to trial. The actor was accused of faking an attack on himself in January 2020 in Chicago, faced charges which were dropped, then charged again in February 2020. Smollett pleaded not guilty to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. His lawyers also tried to have the case dismissed, saying he had already fulfilled an agreement with Cook County prosecutors in which he forfeited a $10,000 bond and did community service, Fox News reports. But Judge James Linn declined to upset a plan put in place by another judge, Michael Toomin. Jury selection could start in late November. Our original story follows:

Jussie Smollett wanted to make clear that it's not like he's ignoring legal advice. "But I don't really see, honestly, what staying quiet has really done, like, where it has gotten me," the former Empire actor said in an Instagram Live appearance with author and activist Marc Lamont Hill. So he discussed the criminal case against him in Chicago, People reports, where prosecutors say he invented an attack against him in January 2019 in which two men put a noose around his neck. "There would be no reason for me to do something like this," he said of accusations that he'd made it all up. Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the current charges against him, and his lawyers are asking that the prosecution be dropped.

In the talk, Smollett said he didn't want to play the victim, and "I don't want to appear like I'm trying to convince people." But he asked people to take a closer look at the Chicago police department, per BuzzFeed. Apparently speaking more widely of the people accusing him of faking a hate crime, Smollett said, "They won’t let this go." Civil rights activist Angela Davis is among those who have signed an open letter of support for the actor. "We've seen this before," the letter says. "We stand with Jussie and all persons targeted by hate crimes, police misconduct, and the Trump administration." Smollett said, "The sad part is that there is an example being made of someone who did not do what they’re being accused of." (Read more Jussie Smollett stories.)

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