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Jussie Smollett ordered back to jail for hate crime hoax

Appeals Court Upholds Jussie Smollett’s​ Convictions for Hate Crime Hoax

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An appeals court on Friday ordered actor⁢ Jussie Smollett to serve⁢ out the ⁤rest of the sentence he received ‍for convictions stemming from his 2019 hate crime hoax.

The Illinois​ Appellate⁢ Court ‌upheld the convictions 2-1⁢ after Smollett challenged the appointment ⁢of a special prosecutor, jury selection,‌ and other‍ aspects‍ of the case, the Associated Press reported.

A jury convicted Smollett in December 2021 on five counts of⁤ disorderly conduct—which ‍can be levied in Illinois for lying to the police—after‌ authorities said he lied about being attacked by two Trump-supporting men in⁣ ski masks who targeted him for being black ⁢and gay.

It ⁢turned out that Smollett had paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.

Smollett, ⁣known for ​his⁣ role in the show Empire and ⁣as a ⁤child actor in The Mighty Ducks, served six days of his 2022 sentence of 150 days in ⁢jail before​ he appealed his conviction.

His attorneys argued that Smollett faced prosecution for the⁣ same crime twice because he agreed to perform community service and forfeit the $10,000 he paid in bond when Cook County prosecutors dropped the charges against him.

A judge later overturned that deal, ‌however, ​and appointed a‌ special prosecutor for Smollett’s case, according to CBS⁢ News.

The‍ court ruled that prosecuting him again was “not fundamentally unfair.”

Several Democrats believed ⁣the hoax when reports of it first surfaced in January 2019.

President ‍Joe Biden ⁢ said ⁣ on X, then Twitter, months ‍before he announced his 2020 campaign, that what happened to ⁤Smollett “must never be tolerated in this country.”

Vice President ‍Kamala Harris, who had just announced an eventually unsuccessful run for president, called the incident ​”an‌ attempted modern day lynching.”

What⁤ arguments did Smollett’s defense team present ‌in their appeal of the convictions,​ and‍ how did the appeals court ⁢respond?

Er 2019 of staging a hate crime attack against himself in Chicago. He claimed that⁢ two men assaulted him, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck, all while shouting racist ‌and homophobic slurs. ‍However, evidence ⁤later emerged that Smollett had orchestrated⁤ the entire incident,​ allegedly ⁤as a publicity stunt to advance his career.

Following ⁢his conviction, ‍Smollett was ⁢sentenced to serve two ⁢years of probation ⁣and to perform 250 hours of‍ community service. He was also ordered​ to ​pay restitution to the city of Chicago to cover the costs of ⁣the investigation, ⁢totaling over $130,000.

Smollett’s legal‍ team immediately appealed the convictions, arguing that his rights had ⁢been violated ⁤during⁣ the trial. They claimed​ that a special prosecutor should not have been ​appointed, as the original prosecutor had recused herself due to contact⁤ with⁤ a potential witness. ‍However, the‍ appeals‍ court disagreed and affirmed the ‍decision to appoint a⁢ special prosecutor.

In addition, Smollett’s defense⁢ team argued that the jury selection process ‍was flawed​ and that the trial judge ⁣had made ​certain errors ‌in allowing ⁤or disallowing certain‌ evidence. Again, the appeals court found that these arguments lacked merit and upheld ⁤the convictions.

Prosecutors maintained that Smollett had intentionally ‌made⁣ false statements to law enforcement and​ had staged the hate crime for‌ personal gain. They presented evidence, including ‌text messages and ‌surveillance‍ footage, that undermined his claims of innocence. The jury, after considering all the evidence, found him guilty on all charges.

In⁢ response to the appeals​ court’s decision, Smollett’s‌ attorney issued a statement ‍expressing disappointment and vowing to continue fighting for⁤ justice. They maintained that‌ Smollett’s rights⁢ had been violated and that the evidence ‍against him was weak.

This case has‌ garnered significant ⁣attention, not only because of Smollett’s ‍celebrity status but also ‌because it touched on issues ⁢of hate crimes, racial tensions, and the credibility ⁣of victim testimonials. The fact‌ that Smollett would ​allegedly​ stage​ such‍ a hate⁣ crime⁤ hoax ‍for personal⁢ gain has ‌raised‍ questions about⁢ the⁣ potential​ damage to genuine⁢ victims who may‌ face⁢ increased⁤ skepticism as a result of incidents like this.

While Smollett’s legal ⁣battle may⁢ continue, the appeals court’s decision stands as a reminder that even celebrities are not immune to the consequences of⁢ their actions. ​The upheld convictions confirm⁣ that justice was served in this‌ case and ⁤send a strong message that⁤ hate crime​ hoaxes will not be‍ tolerated.



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