Embattled actor Jussie Smollett suffered another legal blow Friday after an appeals court judge upheld his disorderly conduct conviction for staging his own hate crime and lying to Chicago police in 2019.
According to NBC News, Smollett’s legal team challenged numerous aspects of the case against him, including evidence, jury selection and the use of a special prosecutor. But all of those challenges were dismissed by a 2-1 opinion from the Illinois Appellate Court, and now the Empire star will have to go back to jail to complete his 150-day sentence, of which he had only served six days. The aforementioned special prosecutor in the case, Dan Webb, says that is the appropriate punishment.
“This is pretty much the end of the road for Mr. Smollett,” Webb said. “Under Illinois law he has one right of appeal, that’s what he had today. The Illinois Appellate Court denied all his issues. He can try to go up to the higher court, the Illinois Supreme Court. That’s a discretionary appeal that would be determined if the Illinois Supreme Court wants to hear his issues. But if that doesn’t happen, then he’s hit the end of the road and he would shortly be in jail.”
“The moral of this story is that there are not two systems of justice. One for the rich, famous and movie stars and for everybody else,” Webb went on to say. “He faces the same system of justice everybody else does.”
(Side note: Yeah—regardless of how Smollett’s case turns out, Webb’s insistence that there are “not two systems of justice” is beyond debatable, if not, demonstrably false. Not only do rich people commonly do better than non-rich people, but white people do better than non-white people who have committed the same crime under the same circumstances. One case—especially one where the convicted person is notably Black and gay—doesn’t change that.)
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement that they do plan to fight the decision and placed emphasis on the opinion of the one dissenting judge, Freddrenna Lyle, who ruled in Smollett’s favor.
“We wish to highlight that the decision was divided, with Justice Lyle offering a detailed analysis in favor of Smollett. We are preparing to escalate this matter to the Supreme Court, armed with a substantial body of evidence,” the statement said.
Lyle, the appellate judge, said she would have thrown out Smollett’s convictions. Lyle said it was “fundamentally unfair” to appoint a special prosecutor and charge Smollett when he had already performed community service as part of a 2019 deal with Cook County prosecutors to drop the initial charges.
“It was common sense that Smollett was bargaining for a complete resolution of the matter, not simply a temporary one,” Lyle said.
Still, Webb maintained that the evidence against Smollett was “overwhelming,” noting that the TV star “was convicted of all of five out of six counts.”
“He was sentenced to jail…he has had his day in court,” he said.
See how social media is reacting to Smollett having to finish out his sentence.
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