The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday rejected a request from former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett to dismiss the latest charges against him.
In two very brief notices, the court without comment said Smollett’s requests for an “emergency motion for a supervisory order” were denied.
Smollett was indicted on Feb. 11 on six counts of disorderly conduct, capping a five-month investigation by a court-appointed special prosecutor who overruled a decision by the state’s attorney’s office last year to dismiss the original case.
Smollett’s lawyers argued that Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin exceeded his authority and misinterpreted the law when he ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor who obtained new charges against the actor last month.
The petition asked the state’s highest court to disqualify the special prosecutor and dismiss the case outright.
“Motions for supervisory orders are extraordinary remedies and not usually granted,” Smollett’s attorney William Quinlan said in a statement. “We believed the unique circumstances of this case warranted filing the motion. We will now follow the standard appellate procedure.”
The denial is the latest development in Smollett’s saga.
The 37-year-old actor, who is black and openly gay, has insisted he told the truth when he told police he was accosted on a darkened street in January 2019 by two masked strangers.
According to Smollett, his two assailants threw a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs and expressed support for President Donald Trump.
Jussie Smollett, the initial saga
Police arrested Smollett a month after he claimed he was attacked, accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in a hoax aimed at gaining public sympathy and raising his public profile.
He was subsequently charged in a 16-count indictment, but Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dropped the charges three weeks later in exchange for Smollett performing community service and forfeiting his bail without admitting wrongdoing.
Foxx’s office said the dismissal “did not exonerate” him.
However, the dropping of the charges drew an outcry from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent, who branded the reversal a miscarriage of justice, leading Toomin to appoint former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to review the case.
Webb said he determined that further prosecution of Smollett was warranted, calling into question prosecutors’ judgment in dropping the original case but finding no wrongdoing on their part. Webb said he was continuing his investigation of whether authorities acted improperly.
An attorney for Smollett at his second arraignment in February, Tina Glandian, has argued that dropping the charges was the right call.
Glandian suggested the special prosecutor’s probe was biased in its use of the same police detectives involved in the original case.
Smollett, who lost his role as a singer-songwriter in “Empire,” a Fox television hip-hop drama, sued the city of Chicago in November, accusing municipal officials of maliciously prosecuting him.
The city sued Smollett last April seeking to recover the costs incurred in investigating his hate-crime report.
- Jussie Smollett.: Screen grab