Jussie Smollett Criminal Trial Begins Today

The trial of the disgraced “Empire” star Jussie Smollett for allegedly faking a hate crime is set to begin today after being delayed for three years.

The BBC reported that Smollett, who is a black gay man, claimed back in 2019 that he was jumped by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him while also shouting “this is MAGA country!” After investigating the incident, however, police concluded that Smollett had reportedly paid two brothers to attack him in this way as a publicity stunt so that he could secure himself a bigger salary on “Empire.”

All charges against Smollett for staging this hate crime were controversially dropped in March of 2019, with police claiming afterward that the actor got “off scot-free.” Special prosecutor Dan Webb was later assigned to review the case, and he soon revealed that his office obtained “sufficient factual evidence” to argue that it should not have been dropped.

Webb stated that his office decided to prosecute the case “in the interest of justice,” partly due to the “extensive nature of Mr. Smollett’s false police reports” and the resources expended by Chicago police to look into his claims. Webb’s office also said that it has sufficient evidence to “determine that it disagrees” with the case being dropped.

Smollett is facing three years in prison if he is convicted. At this time, it is unclear if he will be testifying in his trial, which is expected to last one week.

CNN reported that Smollett’s lawyer Tina Glandian has said that the previous charges were dropped “because they were not supported by the evidence,” and that the new attempt to prosecute her client “is clearly all about politics not justice.”

Despite all of the evidence against him, Smollett has stood by his story, saying last year that this entire situation has been “beyond frustrating.”

“They won’t let this go…there is an example being made,” he said. “The sad part is it’s an example being made of someone that didn’t do what they’re being accused of.”

Fox News reported that Smollett arrived at court for jury selection on Monday with his arms linked to family members. Judge James Linn denied requests for extended media coverage, meaning that there will be no cameras allowed in court throughout the trial.

Many feel that Smollett attempted to play off the racial and political tensions the country is currently facing for his own personal gain, so there will certainly be many eyes on this trial as it moves forward.

This piece was written by James Samson on November 29, 2021. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.


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