Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett may have thought his troubles were over after the 16 felony counts against him were dropped and his case file was sealed, but now the court of public opinion will likely come raining down on him with a bigger hammer than ever.
A Cook County judge has ordered that Smollett’s file be unsealed, allowing evidence the Chicago Police gathered against him to go public.
The Chicago Tribune called it a victory for the news media outlets covering the case. It’s also a victory for those who have been convinced that Smollett staged a hoax on the nation and has been lying about it all along.
Back in January, the openly gay actor told police he had been attacked by two President Trump supporters because of his race and gender identity. After he garnered national support, the Chicago Police threw cold water on his story, claiming to have a mountain of evidence proving he made it all up.
Two associates of Smollett, the Nigerian Osundairo brothers, even claimed that they staged the incident at his request and masqueraded as Trump supporters for the benefit of a nearby surveillance camera — which, incidentally, was pointed the wrong direction that night and captured nothing.
Depending on what’s in the unsealed file, this could look very bad for Smollett’s continued claims of innocence. And while he could still get away scot-free, it’s not likely to be a career booster for him.
It’s even worse for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who was involved in the bewildering decision to drop all the charges against Smollett despite initially claiming she had recused herself due to a connection with an associate of the Smollett family who also served as former First Lady Michelle Obama’s aide.
Judge Steven Watkins justified his decision to open the sealed case file after he said Smollett and his legal team trumped the actor’s privacy rights by commenting on the case in front of news cameras.
“These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone,” the judge explained.
The Tribune noted that the unsealed court file won’t contain every bit of evidence the police gathered against Smollett because the case was dropped so quickly by Foxx’ office that the file didn’t have time to grow.
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