Jussie Smollett may be returning to jail after an Illinois Appeals court upheld his conviction for staging a hate crime in 2019. As The Shade Room previously reported, the actor was found guilty in December 2021.
In March of 2022, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in the Cook County jail. Additionally, the actor was ordered to serve 30 days of probation and satisfy orders for restitution.
Six days later, however, Smollett was released from police custody on an emergency motion. The motion granted the actor bail as his team worked to appeal his conviction.
RELATED: The Osundairo Brothers Reenact Alleged Staged Attack Against Jussie Smollett (Video)
More Details Regarding The Illinois Court’s Decision On Jussie Smollett’s Conviction
According to Fox News, Smollett received a decision regarding his appeal from an Illinois court on Friday, December 1.
The outlet reports that three judges gave the ruling 2-1. Justice David Navarro and Justice Mary Ellen Coghlan agreed to uphold Smollett’s 2021 conviction, while Judge Freddrenna Lyle reportedly “dissented.”
According to AP News, Lyle reportedly believes Smollett paid his dues when he completed community service in exchange for prosecutors to drop his charges in 2019.
A representative for Smollett and his legal team told the outlet they plan to “file an appeal with the Supreme Court.”
“We wish to highlight that the decision was divided, with Justice Lyle offering a detailed analysis in favor of Smollett,” Holly Baird reportedly explained. “We are preparing to escalate this matter to the Supreme Court, armed with a substantial body of evidence.”
A special prosecutor named Dan. K. Webb reportedly championed the Illinois Appeals Court’s 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 stated, per Fox News. “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.”
According to Fox News, after Smollett’s team files another appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court will decide whether to “hear the case.” Then, if the actor’s conviction is not overturned, he will return to Cook County jail to finish his 150-day sentence.
A Look Back On The Actor’s Sentencing & Staged Hate Crime Hoax
According to Fox News, Smollett was found guilty on five out of six charges of disorderly conduct in December 2021. In January 2019, the actor went viral after alleging he was the victim of a “racist and homophobic attack” by two men in ski masks.
A police investigation revealed that Smollett orchestrated the plot. Additionally, the former ‘Empire’ actor hired the two men, Bola and Ola Osundairo, to participate as assailants for $3,500.
Fox News reports that Smollett maintained his innocence during his sentencing. Additionally, his legal team alleges that Smollett’s “due process rights” were violated when he was given “renewed protection” and his initial deal, or “nonprosecution agreement,” with prosecutors was not honored.
According to CNN, the court ultimately found that prosecutors never agreed to drop Smollett’s charges.
“Here, the State’s nolle prosequi [dcision to no longer prosecute] of the indictment was not a final disposition of the case,” the court declared, per CNN. “Therefore, the State was not barred from re-prosecuting Smollett…”
Furthermore, Smollett’s legal team reportedly accused the judge who presided over his conviction of having bias against the actor.
“[In addition, the] circuit court judge improperly denied the defense motion for substitution of judge for cause because of his explicit bias towards Mr. Smollett, rendering every subsequent ruling and action in this case null and void,” Smollett’s legal reportedly disclosed in their March 2023 appeal filing.