Judge orders file in Jussie Smollett criminal case unsealed

Angelo Anderson
May 23, 2019

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin could rule that an out-of-county prosecutor should investigate the Smollett criminal case and why Kim Foxx's office quietly dropped the 16 felony charges against the "Empire" star; Matt Finn reports from Chicago.

"In January, Smollett made national headlines when he filed a police report alleging two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him as he was walking home from a fast food eatery".

The records were sealed after prosecutors dropped disorderly conduct charges against the "Empire" actor in March.

The actor paid $10,000 in bail to get out of jail following his arrest.

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It was unclear how long it would take the Circuit Court Clerk's Office, which maintains the criminal records, to unseal Smollett's case.

After news organizations sought to unseal the records, Smollett's legal team opposed the request, citing the actor's privacy rights.

The files are expected to be made available to the public some time Thursday afternoon, but were not available at the time of this writing.

Smollett's lawyers argued state law entitles him to have the case file sealed after the charges were dismissed. He said that it is unfair for the media to make someone a celebrity, and then use that celebrity status to obtain records that are typically sealed.

Watkins said that Smollett's demand for privacy was contradicted by his media appearances before he was charged and after the case was dropped. It will be an uphill battle, though, as the original decision to seal the case was nearly as odd as the decision to let Smollett off the hook. "Shortly after Mr. Smollett reported he was attacked, as a family friend, I contacted Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who I also know from prior work together". And with this ruling, assuming a higher court doesn't overturn it, we'll all be able to see the entire case that the city of Chicago had for its prosecution of Smollett.

Communications later released to the Tribune showed Foxx had asked police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn over the investigation to the FBI after she was approached by Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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