Former Empire star, Jussie Smollett-Bell, is still battling the allegation that he staged a hate crime. Last March, Smollett was indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.
The former actor told police that he was a victim of a hate crime last January. Smollett alleged that two masked men attacked him near the Chicago subway. The masked men allegedly yelled homophobic and racial slurs at Smollett and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing the scene.
Police identified the attackers as two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo. The brothers have connections to Smollett through the Fox show, Empire. The charges against Smollett were ultimately dropped and then restored again on Monday.
This week, the actor is maintaining his innocence. Smollett pleaded not guilty in court on Monday. His lawyer, Tina Glandian, has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.
“He’s obviously frustrated to be dragged through this process again,” Glandian told reporters outside of the Cook County courthouse.
Glandian also filed a motion with the court arguing that restoration of current charges counts as ‘double jeopardy’.
Double jeopardy refers to charging a person with the same crime twice, a violation of rights. Prosecutors argue that double jeopardy doesn’t apply because there was never an actual prosecution
Furthermore, Smollett has repeatedly expressed that he is innocent. It is said that the star was unhappy with his salary while on Empire which led to him stagging the attack. His alleged motive was to gain publicity for being a gay black victim of a hate crime. Smollett has certainly gained the press attention he allegedly hoped for—but be careful what you wish for, right?
When asked by reporters whether he still claims to be innocent, he responded: “I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent.”
On a side note, one of Jussie’s former casemates if also facing legal troubles. Shaun Wiess, also known as Goldberg in the popular Mighty Ducks series was arrested in LA last month. Coach Bombay is probably not too proud of either of these guys.
What do you guys think about this case? Is Jussie Smollett-Bell telling the truth or does something smell fishy? Will he do Jail time?
Lastly, let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Image credit: Reuters.com