UPDATE: Smollett is expected back in court March 5, 2021.
“I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one” — March 25, 2019
In 2007 Smollett pleaded no contest to DUI, driving without a license and providing false information to law enforcement. He served two years’ probation.
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of”
Smollett was arrested on charges he staged his own hate-crime attack on Feb. 21.
He was indicted by a Cook County grand jury on March 8.
The evidence that Chicago police had:
Kim Foxx says Smollett’s sweetheart deal is “available to all defendants.” Court records tell a different tale.
Some other differences between Smollett’s case resolution and the route taken by ordinary people are apparent. Smollett’s case was concluded in an “emergency hearing” rather than at his next scheduled court date on April 17th.
Particularly odd was the decision to immediately seal Smollett’s court record. Even when individuals are acquitted of crimes, the court record remains accessible to the public until the individual seeks expungement—a 60- to 120-day process that entities such as the Chicago Police Department have an opportunity to contest.
But Smollett’s judge yesterday immediately sealed the case, and the case was removed from clerk electronic records within four hours, barring anyone from reviewing the matter. Foxx today said the sealing was an error that would be undone. As of midday on Wednesday, Smollett’s case had not returned to the clerk’s system.
Community service. It was 16 hours over last weekend with Rev. Jessie Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not “formally” recuse herself from the Jussie Smollett case — she only did so “colloquially,” prosecutors said on Wednesday.
When Jussie Smollett and Jurnee Smollett-Bell were growing up, bouncing with their parents and four siblings between New York and Los Angeles, as the kids pursued careers in modeling, acting and music, their downtime was just another chance for performance and togetherness.
Kim Foxx: We would have convicted Jussie Smollett if case went to trial
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Wednesday defended her office’s decision to drop all charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett but said prosecutors had enough evidence to convict the actor of faking a hate-crime attack on himself.
Foxx said that the deal, which essentially wipes Smollett’s record clear, was not a sign that the prosecution case was weak or that Smollett was innocent, and said similar low-level felony defendants are cut the same breaks.
Foxx’s First Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Magats was the final decision-maker on the case after Foxx stepped aside, and informed Foxx about the planned disposition of Smollett’s case Monday afternoon, she said. An “emergency hearing” was held Tuesday morning, with no notice to Chicago Police. Magats required the payment to the city from Smollett in agreeing to drop the charges, Foxx said.
Magats “can’t say, ‘In exchange for dropping the charge, you have to give a $10,000 bond forfeiture … if you believe he’s innocent,” Foxx said. “You can’t ask an innocent man for $10,000.”
Smollett likely wouldn’t have gone to jail, but the way his case was concluded was different from “alternative prosecutions” typically pursued in Cook County, said Richard Kling, an IIT-Kent Law School professor with a large roster of clients facing charges in the same courthouse where Smollett had held his triumphant press conference Tuesday. Deferred prosecutions or pre-trial diversion programs typically require some admission of guilt, a formal arrangement for community service hours and a period of probation before charges or dropped and a record can be expunged.
“In my 48 years of practice, I certainly have never seen a deferred prosecution done like that,” Kling said.
Foxx also said Wednesday that the court file should remain public; she believed the only reports that would be sealed were arrest records. But Judge Steven Watkins had already granted a defense request for the “immediate sealing of the criminal records.”
A Chicago Sun-Times reporter was turned away from viewing the case file immediately after the hearing Tuesday. Scanned records of the case were removed from the digital database maintained by the clerks’ office by Tuesday afternoon.
By Wednesday morning, there was no record that the case had ever existed, and clerk’s office staff said the case file had been moved into storage.
Cook County prosecutors made a stunning reversal on Tuesday when they dropped all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. He had been indicted on 16 felony counts related to making an allegedly false report that he was the victim of a hate-crime attack in Chicago on Jan. 29.
Chicago’s top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, recused herself from the investigation before Smollett was charged, citing conversations she had with a Smollett family member. Her office is now taking heat for abruptly dropping the charges against Smollett only five weeks after the allegations were filed.
In 2007 Smollett pleaded no contest to DUI, driving without a license and providing false information to law enforcement, the L.A. City Attorney’s office confirmed.