Yahoo reports a Cook County judge on Friday shot down actor Jussie Smollett’s attempt have the criminal charges against him dropped, telling the actor that the new charges against him do not violate his right against double jeopardy.
Smollett’s attorneys made the double jeopardy argument after a special prosecutor secured a six-count indictment on charges alleging that he lied to police about a racist and anti-gay attack that police say he staged himself.
The new case came months after the county’s state’s attorney’s office abruptly announced it was dropping charges against the actor, angering police and City Hall.
The way Judge James Linn saw it, the only way double jeopardy would apply is if Smollett was legally punished for what had happened to him since he was charged in connection with the January 2019 incident in downtown Chicago.
Per ChicagoSunTimes in a hearing streamed live on YouTube, Judge James Linn said that Smollett’s previous case never led to an admission of guilt and that the former “Empire” actor was never punished, so the new charges would not violate his right against double jeopardy.
Smollett was accused of making a false report to Chicago police and was indicted in March 2019 on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying about being attacked in a hate crime. Weeks later, the state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped the charges, sparking outrage and confusion. Nearly a year later — in February —Smollett was indicted again by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, who has criticized State Attorney Kim Foxx’s decision to dismiss the initial charges.
Linn Friday said the agreement Smollett reached with prosecutors in 2019 was not considered punishment, because the actor never admitted wrongdoing. At the time, Smollett agreed to forfeit his bond to Chicago police and do community service.
“There was no trial in this case, there was no jury empaneled, no witnesses were sworn, no evidence was heard, no guilty pleas were ever entered … nothing like that every happened,” Linn said of the 2019 case. “There was no adjudication of this case.”