The legal team behind former Empire star Jussie Smollett awaits a decision granting more time to file a brief with the court reviewing the actor’s conviction in 2021 that he faked a hate crime. The attorneys were due to submit arguments for Smollett’s appeal by this Wednesday, but have instead asked the 1st District Court of Appeals for a fifth extension.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, attorneys say their brief is ready, they just want to be sure the court will accept it because it’s 30 pages longer than the court usually permits. The motion admits that Smollett “is well aware that this court does not favor appellant briefs in excess of 50 pages. However, the circumstances surrounding this case firmly necessitate a brief in excess of 50 pages.”
In addition to the case Smollett was convicted on, the appeal also involves a previous case brought against the actor after the 2019 hoax.
Attorneys for the special prosecutor’s office object to the lengthy brief. They say Smollett’s appeal is only relevant when considering the case that led to his conviction, not earlier cases, and they don’t want the court to permit the 80-page brief.
Smollett was first indicted in 2019, after he was said to have encountered two assailants who allegedly shouted at him, “This is MAGA country.” After an investigation turned up no evidence of this, he was charged by a Cook County, Ill., with filing a false police report. Those charges were later dropped in recognition of the community service he performed and his agreement to turn over the $10,000 he had posted for bond to the city of Chicago. He also did not need to admit wrongdoing.
A Cook County judge later appointed a Special Prosecutor to review the state’s attorney’s office’s decision. Smollett was indicted again on new charges the next year.
Smollett went to trial in December 2021, and a jury convicted him of five counts of felony disorderly conduct for which he was sentenced to five months in jail. He wound up serving just six days of that sentence in the Cook County Jail before he was released on his own recognizance .If his conviction is not overturned on appeal, he’ll be required to serve the rest of the five month sentence.
No ruling has yet been issued on either Smollett’s request to file the oversized brief or his request for more time.