Illinois Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Appeal From Jussie Smollett

The former “Empire” actor was convicted and sentenced for staging an attack and lying to Chicago police about being the victim of a hate crime.

Jussie Smollett's appeal will be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court. He was convicted of staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself and lying about it to Chicago law enforcement, the Associated Press reports.

On Wednesday (March 27), the Court agreed to hear the appeal from the former “Empire” actor. The Court will review the state appellate court ruling that upheld his 2021 conviction by a Cook County jury in December.

In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was the victim of an attack that took place near his Streeterville apartment. He said the alleged incident occurred while he was walking to get a sandwich from a local Subway. According to Smollett's account, the attackers yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, said that he was in “MAGA country”, and put a noose around his neck.

Following an investigation that drew national attention, law enforcement charged Smollett with allegedly planning the fake hate crime against himself with brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo

During the trial, both Osundairo brothers testified that they were paid $3,500 each by Smollett to stage the false crime.

Eventually, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail, six of which he served before he was released pending appeal. He also was given 30 months of probation and ordered to pay $130,160 in restitution.

Jussie Smollett's Conviction Upheld by Appeals Court

In a 2-1 decision, an Illinois Appellate Court panel rejected the argument that Smollet's trial violated his Fifth Amendment protections against double jeopardy.

According to the report, the appeals court decision found that Smollett was not denied due process, ruling that “there was no evidence prosecutors had agreed not to prosecute Smollett further when the initial charges against him were dropped in exchange for him forfeiting his $10,000 bond and performing 16 hours of community service.”

In the ruling, Judge Freddrenna Lyle dissented arguing that it was "fundamentally unfair" to appoint a special prosecutor to charge Smollett for a second time following an agreement that he believed would bring the case to an end.

If Smollett's appeal fails in the Illinois Supreme Court, he could bring his case to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that his conviction violates “his Fifth Amendment protections against double jeopardy.” 

No date has been scheduled for the appeal to be heard in court.

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