A month after an Illinois judge ordered that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the handling of Jussie Smollett’s abandoned criminal case, the former Empire actor said Friday he wants that move rendered null and void.
“Jussie Smollett, by his attorneys, Geragos & Geragos, respectfully requests that this Court grant his Motion, vacate the June 21, 2019 Order, and deny the Petition to Appoint a Special Prosecutor,” reads a filing made this morning in Chicago by Smollett and his high-profile legal team (read it here).
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Calling the multiple charges case against the actor stemming from his January 29 claims of a racial- and homophobic-fueld attack on the streets of the Windy City “a travesty of justice and an unprecedented deprivation of Mr. Smollett’s constitutional rights,” Friday’s filing basically accuses Judge Michael Toomin of conducting a trial by media in what has been a heavily spotlighted situation from the get go.
To that end, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, who are facing their own federal defamation suit from implicated siblings Ola and Abel Osundairo, preemptively want this matter blunted if they can’t get it shut down in a July 26 hearing.
“In the event the Court is not inclined to grant the Motion, Mr. Smollett, by his attorneys, Geragos & Geragos, respectfully requests that the Court modify the June 21, 2019 Order to clarify that the special prosecutor may investigate and prosecute potential misconduct only, and may not further prosecute Mr. Smollett for the charges that were previously brought and dismissed against him,” the 30-page motion and exhibit-thick filing adds.
Friday’s filing lays the whole attack on the Osundairos brothers. The paperwork slams the siblings’ so-called “self-serving statements which resulted in their release from custody with no criminal charges being filed against them, not a single piece of evidence independently corroborates their claim that the attack was a hoax.” Perhaps more compelling, the defense lawyers also cite a possible helper of sorts in an unidentified and previous unmentioned third man, who witnesses supposedly claim was at the early morning scene.
Though Toomin made the ruling last month after determining that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx could not legally appoint her top deputy to handle the Smollett case in her place after she recused herself in late winter, the fact is no special prosecutor has been appointed yet.
On the other hand, as more and more material from the once sealed Smollett case is being made public, the Cook County inspector general’s office is conducting its own investigation over why Foxx’s office dropped all charges against Smollett at an unannounced court hearing in late March. That controversial move came less than three weeks after the Empire actor was charged with 16 felony counts related to making a false police report for allegedly staging the hate-crime attack.
Smollett entered a not guilty plea to the disorderly conduct charges and has maintained his innocence throughout; the scandal cost him his Empire gig after initial strong support from co-creator Lee Daniels and others.
Of course, this looming issue of a potential special prosecutor isn’t the only legal matter on Smollett’s plate. There is the case against his lawyers brought by the Osundairos, whom Chicago police have said admitted they were paid by the actor to plan and coordinate the alleged fake assault on that cold Chicago early morning in January. There is also a case from the city itself. In the closing days of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s regime, Chicago sued Smollett in civil court to recover more than $130,000 it allegedly spent in police overtime hours investigating the case.
Even with a new mayor and more twists and turns, that messy matter is ongoing.