Just ahead of Jussie Smollett’s sentencing following his guilty conviction of staging a fake hate crime, it appears the former Empire star and his legal team are seeking a new trial.
Per Complex, Smollett asked a judge on Friday to reverse his previous ruling citing claims that his constitutional rights were violated during his initial trial. He and his legal team allege that they were “blocked from participating in the jury selection process” and that “prosecutors showed a pattern of racism in selecting jurors.” They also claim that the prosecutorial team participated in acts intended to sway witnesses into providing “false testimony” during the trial, though no specific instance was referenced.
As previously reported by The Root, Smollett is expected to receive his sentencing on March 10, after it was postponed from the previously established date of January 27. In addition to his sentencing, Smollett and his legal team also have the City of Chicago to contend with in the coming months. As we also reported, the city is currently seeking $130,000 from the actor and musician in an attempt to recoup the expenses related to “resources used [while] investigating allegations that have now been ruled to be false.” The filing also requests that Smollett be ordered to pay for “any arising legal bills Chicago would incur in lawsuits against him,” as reported by Newsweek.
Smollett was found guilty on five of six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to the police for the faux hate crime back in December. He faces a maximum sentence of three years though most legal experts expect him to get the minimum of probation and/or a fine plus community service considering the low-level of the crime.