Months of continuous legal controversy seems to follow Jussie Smollett and now he and his attorneys are aiming to block his Thursday appearance in a Cook County, Ill., court.
A hearing regarding whether a special prosecutor should be appointed to the Smollett case was scheduled for Thursday. The special prosecutor would be tasked with investigating the sudden dismissal of charges against the Empire actor. The Chicago Tribune reports that Shelia O’Brien, a retired state appellate judge, who has petitioned for a special prosecutor, filed a “notice to appear” last week demanding Smollett’s presence in court.
However, his publicist, Hilary Rosen, told the Associated Press that he would not attend the hearing.
According to the Tribune, his attorneys are arguing that the actor has no reason to be in court because he is not a party to the case with all the charges dropped and it would be an “undue hardship” for him to appear since he has moved from Chicago to California. The attorneys attributed his move to the release of information, like his address, after the charges were dismissed and they also suggested “additional security measures” would be required for him if he traveled.
Smollett’s attorneys do not wish to have a special prosecutor on the case since the county inspector general’s office is already investigating at the request of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Foxx and her office is also concerned about the request to have a special prosecutor and have themselves tried to block Foxx from having to appear in court on Thursday. The issues regarding the subpoenas are expected to be taken up by LeRoy Martin Jr., a criminal division judge in the Circuit Court.
Smollett was thrust into the spotlight in January after claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in a Chicago street. After an investigation by the Chicago Police, they claimed the actor staged the attack with the help of two Nigerian-American brothers.
The actor was initially hit with 16 felony charges, but they were dropped by Foxx and her office. Foxx has faced harsh criticisms following the dismissal, but in an op-ed with the Tribune, she said unspecified aspects of the case would have made a conviction “uncertain.”