News & Politics

Jussie Smollett Back in Court to Face NEW Charges in Fake Hate-Crime Hoax

Jussie Smollett mug shot. (Image credit: Chicago Police Department)

Earlier this month, actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on six charges of disorderly conduct for filing false police reports claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by Trump supporters last year. The indictment came after previous charges were inexplicably dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Smollett was presumably a free man who didn’t have to pay restitution to the city, which spent $130,000 in overtime on his case. But, his initial prosecution was deemed invalid by a judge and Dan Webb, a veteran attorney, was appointed to determine if he should face charges again. He was indicted by a grand jury on February 11 and expected to appear in court on Monday.

Smollett is expected to plead not guilty and will remain free on bond pending the trial. Webb said the decision to bring new charges against Smollett was based on “the extensive nature” of Smollett’s fabrication as well as the resources used by the Chicago police in their investigation.

Webb was appointed to his post by Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in August with a broad mandate to probe every aspect of the Smollett case, including whether to bring further charges against the actor. He impaneled a grand jury late last year that has been hearing evidence from Webb’s law offices at Winston & Strawn.

By the time the 2019 charges were brought, Foxx said she had recused herself from overseeing the prosecution after revealing she had contact with a member of Smollett’s family early in the investigation at the request of Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared that Smollett should be “held accountable” for his crimes. “He needs to face the charges,” she said. “He committed a crime, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we are going to continue to aggressively make him accountable for the wasted police resources that went into investigating what turned out to be a total hoax.”

_____

Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis