news

Jussie Smollett's trial to move forward after judge denies dismissal request

The actor, 39, has been investigated and charged over allegations he lied about a racist and homophobic attack in 2019.

2021-10-19

Words: Alastair James 

A judge has dismissed a request by the actor, Jussie Smollett, to have his case thrown out relating to allegations he lied to police about being involved in a racist and homophobic attack in 2019. 

The Empire actor alleged that he was the victim of an assault involving two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who went on to claim that they were paid $3,500 by Smollett to stage the attack due to him being unhappy with his salary on the show.

Last year, the actor pleaded not guilty to six charges of disorderly conduct. 

"A deal is a deal"

As reported by NBC News, the actor's attorney has argued that Smollett's rights were being violated as the actor had already served community service and paid a $10,000 bond as part of a deal in Cook County. 

Nenye Uche said on Friday, "A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle." Smollett's case is now being handled by a special prosecutor, according to NBC News.

In January 2019, Smollett said two men tied a rope around his neck, poured a corrosive substance over him, and referenced Donald Trump's 2016 election slogan 'Make America Great Again'.

In February 2019, he was charged with filing a false police report to which he pleaded not guilty before all charges were suddenly dropped. The actor was also removed from the final few episodes of Empire's fifth season.

After the incident was investigated as a hate crime, police then looked at whether Smollett had staged the attack, which Nigerian brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, who worked as extras on Empire, said was the case. 

The case was reopened by a special prosecutor, who charged Smollett with six new charges of disorderly conduct in 2020 to which the actor, who is gay, pleaded not guilty.

In his statement at the time prosecutor Dan Webb said he had obtained "sufficient factual evidence" to argue why prosecutors were wrong to drop the case in 2019.

The Attitude Awards issue is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.