About a year after being sentenced to five months in jail, Jussie Smollett is appealing his conviction for fabricating a racial and homophobic attack on himself and lying to Chicago police about it. His attorneys filed the appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court last week.
The appeal argues that Smollett was wrongfully punished for his conduct, which it claims did not constitute a criminal offense under state law. The filing also accuses prosecutors of maliciously prosecuting and convicting Smollett without any legal basis for doing so. The filing states that the sentence imposed by the trial court was unjust, and seeks to have his conviction vacated.
The filing also claims that Smollett’s right to a fair trial was violated as prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense during the proceedings. This includes emails between members of Chicago police and prosecutors in which they discussed Smollett.’
The 102-page petition, which was filed on Wednesday with the Illinois Appellate Court and acquired by The Post, argues that the “prosecutorial wrongdoing” in this case was “obvious and flagrant” and that the 40-year-old “Empire” alum is asking for a new trial.
Smollett was found guilty on five counts of disorderly behavior by a jury in December 2021. He stated that two males approached him in the dark on a chilly early January 2019 morning, yelled obscenities at him, punched him, put something chemical on him, and then tied a noose over his neck.
Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo’s brothers were recruited to carry out the attack, according to Chicago police, so that Smollett could advance his budding Hollywood career. The brothers were instructed to use the terms “Empire’, f—-t, n—-r, MAGA,” according to amateur boxer and occasional bit-part actor Abimbola, who testified in court. Smollett is black and gay.
Smollett was given a 150-day prison term on March 10, 2022, even though he insisted he was innocent. Before being released awaiting appeal, he was imprisoned for six days during which time, according to his attorneys, he drank only ice water and went without food.
Smollett’s attorneys said in their filing on Wednesday that his right to be shielded from double jeopardy had been breached. He was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct, but prosecutors quietly announced in 2019 that they would not prosecute those charges because he had given the city of Chicago his $10,000 bail bond and completed community service.
Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney for Chicago County, was the subject of widespread criticism for how she handled the case. Further accusations were brought after the judge assigned a special prosecutor to look into her office’s decision.
As a result, Mr. Smollett’s second prosecution and punishment for the same offenses violated the Double Jeopardy Clause, according to his attorneys. “Mr. Smollett’s negotiated bail bond forfeiture and performance of community service during his first prosecution constituted punishment,” they wrote in their brief.
Also, according to his defenders, “prosecutorial wrongdoing, including allegations that a defense witness was coerced into changing his account,” occurred. They also criticized the trial judge’s “biased” judgments, claiming that his “final remarks revealed that Mr. Smollett’s sentencing took on a personal retributive tone.”
The appeal brief was submitted on Wednesday, almost two weeks before the March 13 broadcast of “Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax,” a five-part docuseries on FOX Nation. The streamer promises “depth dives” into the incident that made headlines around the world as well as “exclusive interviews” with the Osundairo brothers.