The disgraced former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett is likely heading back to prison after his conviction for staging a hate crime against himself was upheld by an Illinois appeals court on Friday.
Smollett’s Conviction Upheld
Court documents show that the conviction was upheld by a 2-1 vote, with Justice David Navarro and Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan agreeing and Judge Freddrenna Lyle dissenting.
“Here, the State’s nolle prosequi of the indictment was not a final disposition of the case,” the court said, according to CNN.
“Therefore, the State was not barred from re-prosecuting Smollett,” the court continued. “After the nolle prosequi was entered, Smollett was free to go without entering into a recognizance to appear at any other time, which is the bargain Smollett made.”
Smollett’s legal team has already filed another appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court.
“We wish to highlight that the decision was divided, with Justice Lyle offering a detailed analysis in favor of Smollett,” Smollett’s representative Holly Baird told Fox News.”We are preparing to escalate this matter to the Supreme Court, armed with a substantial body of evidence.”
Special Prosecutor Dan. K. Webb praised the appeals court for upholding the decision.
“As the appellate court noted, Mr. Smollett ‘challenge[d] virtually every aspect of’ the prosecution, and the appellate court correctly rejected each and every one of those challenges,” Webb said. “Today’s decision is a validation of Winston & Strawn’s tireless work on this matter and a resounding victory for justice. We are proud to have prevailed in a case that, we believe, can help restore the public’s confidence in the Cook County justice system.”
Back in 2021, Smollett was found guilty by a jury on five of the six charges of disorderly conduct after a nearly two-week trial. This came after Smollett claimed in January of 2019 that he was jumped by two men who hurled racist and homophobic attacks at him while also shouting “this is MAGA country.” After investigating Smollett’s claims, police concluded that he had allegedly staged the attack in the hopes of securing himself a higher salary on “Empire.”
Smollett was later sentenced to 150 days in jail following the conviction. He was additionally sentenced to 30 months felony probation, restitution to the city of Chicago in the amount of $120,106 and a fine of $25,000.
Smollett continued to proclaim his innocence after being sentenced.
“I did not do this, and I am not suicidal, and if anything happens to me when I go there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that,” he said at the time.
Smollett reported to jail on March 10, 2022, but he was released six days later pending his appeal. The Illinois Supreme Court will now decide whether or not to hear Smollett’s case, and if his conviction isn’t overturned, he will have to serve out the rest of his 150-day jail sentence.
Many feel that Smollett tried to play off the racial and political divides in this country for his own personal gain. Do you think Smollett belongs in prison? Let us know in the comments section.