Jussie Smollett is appealing his conviction for staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself and lying to Chicago police about it — nearly a year after he was sentenced to five months in jail.
The “Empire” alum, 40, is seeking a new trial, as he claims “prosecutorial misconduct” in this case was “clear and egregious,” according to the 102-page document filed Wednesday with the Illinois Appellate Court.
“Cook County Judge Michael Toomin improperly set forth an opinion that Mr. Smollett was, in fact, guilty of charges which Mr. Smollett specifically pled not guilty to”
Smollett’s lawyers argue in the appeal
A jury convicted Smollett in December 2021 of five counts of disorderly conduct. He had claimed that on a frigid early morning in January 2019, two men approached him in the dark, yelled slurs at him, punched him, poured a chemical substance on him and hung a noose around his neck.
Chicago police accused Smollett of recruiting brothers Abimbola and OlabinjoOsundairo to carry out the attack to boost his burgeoning Hollywood career.
Abimbola, an amateur boxer and occasional bit-part actor, testified in court that Smollett, who is black and gay, told him the specific words he wanted the brothers to use were “Empire’, f—-t, n—-r, MAGA.”
On March 10, 2022, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail as he continued to proclaim his innocence. He spent six days behind bars — where lawyers said he did not eat and consumed only ice water — before being released pending appeal.
In Wednesday’s brief, Smollett’s attorneys argued his protection against double jeopardy was violated.
Prosecutors quietly said in 2019 they wouldn’t pursue the 16 counts of disorderly conduct against him, as he had forfeited his $10,000 bail bond to the city of Chicago and performed community service.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx came under national scrutiny for her role in the handling of the case. A judge appointed a special prosecutor to review her office’s decision, and new charges were filed.