The fifty-leventh time’s the charm, right?
Jussie Smollett might be heading back into court after demanding a new trial. Two months after the actor was found guilty on 5 of the 6 felony counts against him for filing a false police report about his 2019 assault, his attorneys filed a petition for a second chance in court. TMZ reports Jussie claims his constitutional rights were violated during the jury selection process. Does he have (yet another) case?
The Empire star’s legal team said the court “made numerous trial errors leading up to the trial and during the pendency of the trial.” His attorneys stated that despite having such a controversial client in a nationally covered case that could easily taint potential jurors, they were not allowed to directly question the jury pool for biases and “questionable impartiality.”
According to NBC News, the filing also stated that the evidence presented by the prosecution was “insufficient and inconsistent so that no reasonable trier of fact could have found Mr. Smollett guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and thus there is evidence that the jury verdict was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence.
“As such, the Defendant now respectfully requests that his convictions be vacated or in the alternative, that the Court grant the Defendant a new trial.”
If the 39-year-old can’t get a new trial, he is seeking to have his conviction overturned for the 5 felony counts of disorderly conduct. Jussie’s team also asserted that prosecutors pressured witnesses to give false testimony against him. Chicago’s police and court systems aren’t known for being impartial, especially when it comes to Black men, so Jussie’s team may have plenty of valid points about how this case was (mis)handled.
The cameras will be ready for Jussie’s close-up on March 10 at his sentencing after Judge James Linn‘s ruling on Friday that “there is no good cause to continue to deny extended media coverage for post-trial proceedings.” He is currently facing a maximum sentence of 3 years, which is less time than he’s already spent in court over this reported hate crime.
If violent criminals like Kim Potter can get tears and a slap on the wrist, does Jussie deserve a second chance at justice?