Though it feels like it’s been fourscore and 75 years ago since the world first became embroiled in the curious case of Empire star Jussie Smollett, it appears there’s yet another update.
Deadline reports that over the weekend, a judge denied the dismissal of a criminal case for Smollett, noting that his case will now be led by a special prosecutor appointed by a different judge. This means Smollett will be going to trial as he faces criminal charges of lying to the police stemming from the racial and homophobic attack he alleged back in 2019.
Smollett’s attorney Nenye Uche insists that his client’s rights are being violated due to the fact that Smollett has already paid $10,000 bond and completed community service, terms previously put in place through a deal with Cook County prosecutors in order to get the charges dropped back in 2019.
“A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle,” Uche explained.
As previously reported by The Root, back in mid-July, Smollett appeared in court for a closed hearing to assess whether or not Uche should be disqualified from representing him going forward. At the time, Cook County Judge James Linn (also the same judge that just denied the dismissal of Smollett’s case) questioned whether Uche had a conflict of interest after two key witnesses in the case claimed they had spoken with him. Those witnesses just so happened to be brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, who prosecutors have said Smollett hired and paid to carry out the alleged attack in Chicago in 2019. Uche vehemently denied ever speaking with the brothers.
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By the end of July, it was determined that Smollett could continue having Uche represent him but that another member of the defense team would have to cross-examine the Osundairo brothers should they have to testify, according to WTTW.
Smollett has pleaded not guilty to all six charges. Jury selection is expected to begin on November 29.