The city of Chicago is trying to make good on its promise to make former Empire star Jussie Smollet pay for the media frenzy and money loss created around his 2019 claim that he was a victim of a hate crime attack.
On Monday (Feb. 24), Smollett appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to six counts of disorderly conduct before Judge James Linn on a new indictment from earlier this month. The latest charges alleged Smollett made four separate false reports to Chicago police in the aftermath of the Jan. 29, 2019, incident near Smollett’s residence in Chicago’s Tony Streeterville neighborhood.
Dubbed as the most infamous disorderly conduct case in recent Chicago history, the trial began all over again with a new judge and a special prosecutor, Dan K. Webb; but after Webb was a no show twice due to falling ill, the trial was ultimately assigned to the latest official Judge James Linn.
In court, Smollett’s lawyers requested a delay in the arraignment due to filing paperwork with the Illinois Supreme Court regarding the case and a motion in Linn’s courtroom to dismiss the indictment on double-jeopardy grounds.
Prior to Webb’s dismissal from the proceedings, he noted that his reasoning for reopening the case, was that he considered “the extensive nature” of Smollett’s falsehoods, the massive amount of time and money Chicago police put into the investigation, and the strength of the evidence cited by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s own prosecutors in bringing the original charges, according to Raw Story.
Not only did prosecutors drop charges without requiring Smollett to admit guilt, but he also left the courtroom that day having been given credit for two days of community service he had already performed, and he paid no restitution except forfeiting $10,000 in bond money — less than 10% of the approximately $130,000 the police spent on overtime in the case.
Although Linn did not delay the proceedings, the did opt to release Smollett on a $20,000 individual bond before ordering him to reappear in court on March 18.
Despite the new charges, Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, had choice words for the Chicago police department and special prosecutors in the case adding that the new charges aren’t an attempt to find justice—but instead play politics.
“This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett’s pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD officers for malicious prosecution,” Tina Glandian said in a statement.
“After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett,” Glandian continued. “Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”