Actor Jussie Smollett’s motion for the Illinois Supreme Court to dismiss six new disorderly conduct charges stemming from a January 2019 alleged hate crime was denied. The state’s top court also refused to remove the special prosecutor in the case.
Both decisions came down on Friday, nearly a month after Smollett was indicted on the six charges presented by special prosecutor Dan Webb. Smollett’s lawyers had argued that the indictment should be tossed on the basis that it “wasn’t proper because the special prosecutor was appointed incorrectly.”
The court offered no rationale as to why it rejected arguments made by Smollett’s lawyers, reported WGN9 TV.
In an emergency petition, Smollett’s lawyers argued that Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin acted outside of his legal authority when he appointed Webb as a special prosecutor last year.
“The circumstances surrounding the initial case in 2019 did not reach the legal level warranting the appointment of a special prosecutor,” attorney William J. Quinlan and Tina Glandian wrote in paperwork, according to Deadline. “Under the terms of the law, in order to appoint a special prosecutor, the office (of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx) had to file a former recusal with the court and that didn’t occur here.”
Last year, Cook County prosecutors charged Smollett, 37, with 16 counts of disorderly conduct, however, those charges were dismissed by Foxx. After the judge appointed Webb, the new special prosecutor to look into bringing new charges against Smollett, it resulted in the six-count indictment that Smollett’s team had hoped to get dismissed.
On Jan. 29, 2019, Smollett, who is Black and gay, told police that two men who wore masks attacked him and hurled racist and homophonic slurs at him as he walked home early in the morning. Smollett said the men beat him and put a noose around his neck before running away. He said one of the men shouted he was in “MAGA country,” a nod to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Chicago police later said none of this was true and that Smollett staged the attack.
Smollett pleaded not guilty last week to the new charges.