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Jussie Smollett, who faces felony disorderly conduct charges over what prosecutors allege was staging an attack in 2019 while in Chicago, is headed to trial, as Chicago’s WTTW reports. On Tuesday, Cook County Judge James Linn said jury selection for the case will begin on November 29th. Smollett has pleaded not guilty.
The charges stem from January 2019, when the former Empire star who had an apartment in Chicago filed a police report after he alleged he suffered a racist and homophobic attack near his Chicago dwelling, which sparked a hate crime investigation. Following the detailed investigation, authorities claimed Smollett staged the attack, alleging the actor paid two acquaintances — brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo — to help in the scheme. Smollett was indicted and he pleaded not guilty. In an abrupt turn, prosecutors dropped all charges against the actor in March 2019, with the actor agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bail to the city.
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That August, a judge appointed special prosecutor Dan K. Webb to the case. Following his investigation, Webb indicted Smollett on six counts, charging the actor with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime.
Due to the pandemic, Smollett’s case had not been set for trial until now, though Smollett and his lawyers along with the prosecutors have been arguing in recent months over Smollett’s defense attorney Nenye Uche. Prosecutors allege there is a conflict of interest because Uche had interviewed the Osundairo brothers shortly after the January 2019 incident, and they may be witnesses for the prosecution. However, Linn has ruled that Uche can remain on Smollett’s legal team.
While jury selection is on the docket for November 29th, there will be a hearing on a motion to dismiss the case on October 15th.
A lawyer for Smollett did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
Separately, the city of Chicago is suing Smollett to recoup costs incurred from the police investigation into his attack claims.
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