Jury selection for the Chicago trial of Jussie Smollett is set to begin on Monday.
According to CNN, Smollett has pleaded not guilty to all six federal counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to the police about the racist and homophobic attack he claimed to have suffered back in 2019. This trial comes just one week after the Empire star appeared in New York City to promote his upcoming movie, B-Boy Blues and is expected to last until early next week, per Chicago’s WGN9. While Judge James Linn ruled in an earlier hearing in October that there would be no cameras allowed in the courtroom, members of the media are expected to be allowed in once the jury has been selected.
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Cook County Judge James Linn is overseeing the proceedings, and the trial could last through the week.
A grand jury, empaneled by special prosecutor Dan Webb, brought the charges against Smollett in February 2020 — about a year after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office moved to quickly dismiss the initial set of charges leveled against Smollett.
Webb and his colleagues were seen arriving at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 8:20 a.m. Smollett and his family arrived at the courthouse shortly after 9 a.m. His arms were locked with his mother’s as they strode past a crowd of news cameras in the courthouse lobby.
When they reached the 7th floor, Smollett and his supporters were briefly stopped by a Cook County Sheriff’s deputy. Smollett’s mother, still locking an arm with her son, made the sign of the cross before walking into Linn’s courtroom.
Linn called the case at 9:23 a.m.
Additionally, as ABC News reports, brothers and star witnesses Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo are expected to “characterize Smollett as the star and director of an ‘attack’ in full view of a surveillance camera that he mistakenly believed would record the whole event.”
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And, according to their lawyer, the brothers will also describe how Smollett drove them to the spot where the incident was to play out for a “dress rehearsal.”
“He was telling them ‘Here’s a camera, there’s a camera and here’s where you are going to run away,’” said their lawyer, Gloria Rodriguez.
Last month, we told you that a judge denied the dismissal of a criminal case for Smollett, which made his appearance on Monday inevitable. In an event with as many twists and turns as a Shonda Rhimes and Tyler Perry show put together, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out as the trial goes on.