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Jussie Smollett asks Illinois court to overturn conviction on staging hate crime

Smollett will have to go back to jail to serve out his term.

Actor Jussie Smollett asked the Illinois Supreme Court Monday to throw out his 2021 conviction for lying about being the victim of a hate crime, claiming his trial violated his constitutional protections against double jeopardy, CBS is reporting.

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“What should have been a straightforward case has been complicated by the intersection of politics and public outrage,” Smollett’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

In 2019, Smollett reported to police that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack by two men wearing ski masks. The manhunt for the attackers soon turned into an investigation of Smollett as what the actor said happened did not line up. He was arrested on charges he had orchestrated the attack.

About a month after prosecutors charged Smollett, prosecutors dropped all counts against him, noting that he forfeited his $10,000 bond and had done community service.

However, the following month, prosecutors charged Smollett with disorderly conduct for concocting the hoax with brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.

The brothers testified that Smollett paid them to help him with the attack.

Smollett was convicted in 2021 on five felony counts of disorderly conduct, a charge that can be filed in Illinois when a person lies to police, The Associated Press reported. He was sentenced to 150 days in jail. He spent just six days in jail before he was released to await his appeal.

In the “Empire” star’s appeal, Smollett’s attorneys argued that the filing of new criminal charges against Smollett constituted double jeopardy.

According to the Tribune, they said that because the charges were dropped, an agreement existed between Smollett and prosecutors that no further charges would be filed.

In December, a three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate Court upheld Smollett’s conviction, ruling that there was no evidence prosecutors had agreed not to prosecute Smollett further.

Smollett’s attorneys argued that the special prosecutor “gave in to public outcry” over the initial charges against him being dropped, CBS reported.

Smollett’s attorneys argued the record clearly shows he entered into a “nonprosecution agreement” with prosecutors.

No hearing on Smollett’s appeal has been scheduled by the Illinois Supreme Court. If the court declines to hear the appeal, his conviction would be sealed and he would have to report to jail to serve the remainder of his 150-day sentence.

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