A group of 15 ex-Northwestern athletes represented by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and Chicago-based colleagues say they plan to file suit against the university in the near future.
The ruling came after a Cook County judge sentenced Smollett last week to immediately begin serving 150 days in jail for his conviction on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. The appeals court said Smollett could be released on a personal recognizance bond of $150,000, meaning he does not need to post any money to be released.
“I am innocent,” the former “Empire” star yelled as he left the court in custody. “I could have said I was guilty a long time ago.”
On Thursday, three months after a jury found him guilty of lying to police, actor Jussie Smollett returns for sentencing to the courtroom where he was found guilty of lying to police about an attack prosecutors contended he orchestrated himself.
Though cameras weren’t allowed during Smollett's trial late last year, Cook County Judge James Linn issued an order Friday allowing media organizations to film inside his courtroom during the actor's upcoming March 10 sentencing.
Over a Zoom call Thursday, Cook County Judge James Linn said Jussie Smollett, his attorneys and special prosecutors must appear in person for a March 10 hearing to handle sentencing and any post-trial motions from the defense.
The special prosecutor who secured convictions this month against Jussie Smollett said the way the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office first resolved the former “Empire” star’s criminal charges was a “disgrace” and that Kim Foxx and others lied about how it went down.
Finger-pointing, misleading statements, “substantial abuses of discretion” and a “major failure" of operations were among the findings included in a special prosecutor's investigation into Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and her office's handling of the Jussie Smollett case.
“The trial of Mr. Smollett being complete, it is now appropriate for the seal on the (Office of Special Prosecutor’s) Summary Report to be lifted and for it to be publicly available,” Dan Webb wrote in a new motion Wednesday.
The jury convicted the 39-year-old on five counts of disorderly conduct — for each separate time he was charged with lying to police in the days after the alleged attack. He was acquitted on a sixth count.
The deliberations began after a roughly one-week trial in which two brothers testified that Jussie Smollett recruited them to fake the attack near his home in downtown Chicago in January 2019.
The trial, which began last week, is the culmination of a case that began on the frigid night of Jan. 29, 2019, when Jussie Smollett told police two men had attacked him, made anti-gay and racist comments, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett denied Monday that he staged an anti-gay, racist attack on himself in downtown Chicago, testifying at his trial that “there was no hoax.”
In Smollett’s case, it may be important for him to testify because, as bizarre as the brothers’ testimony was, they are the only witnesses to the incident who have testified. And, said Chicago-based defense attorney, Joe Lopez, Smollett’s attorneys “haven’t been able to impeach these brothers.”
After a three-day presentation of evidence, special prosecutor Dan Webb told the presiding judge Thursday evening that the prosecution was done. The defense began its case immediately, calling, among others, an emergency room physician who saw Jussie Smollett after the purported attack.
Abimbola Osundairo said Jussie Smollett detailed how Osundairo and his brother should carry out the Jan. 29, 2019, hoax. Smollett planned a “dry run” and gave him a $100 bill to buy supplies, Osundairo testified.