Jussie Smollett's legal team in an Illinois court on Tuesday requested the dismissal of the hate hoax charges leveled against him in 2021.
In a 76-page written appeal cited by USA Today, Smollett argues that his trial violated his right not to be tried for the same offense twice under the Fifth Amendment.
The appeal focuses on his completion of community service and payment of a $10,000 bond as part of a 2019 agreement with the Cook County State Attorney's Office to drop the charges, which was the key issue in Tuesday's hearing.
In the appeal, Smollett's lawyers argue that chief prosecutor, Kim Foxx, was right to drop the original charges four years ago.
"If Mr. Smollett's convictions are allowed to stand, this case will set a dangerous precedent by giving prosecutors a second bite at the apple any time there is dissatisfaction with another prosecutor's exercise of discretion," the appeal says, according to USA Today.
Attorney Sean Wieber, representing the special prosecutor, argued in court that the way the charges were dismissed by Foxx's office left room for potentially recharging Smollett without violating double jeopardy protections.
As Wieber stated, it's firmly established that double jeopardy occurs only under clear and specific circumstances, none of which are applicable to Smollett in this case.
"Illinois law is crystal clear. ... It's Law School 101," he said about the criteria.
Smollett, Wieber said, has never pleaded guilty, and "has never made any statement that he accepts guilt."
If the appeal fails, Smollett will have to serve the remaining 150 days of his 2022 sentence. He had spent six days in jail and was released while waiting for the outcome of the appeal.
In December 2022, Smollett, who is Black and gay, was convicted on five of six counts related to a hate hoax scheme he allegedly orchestrated.
The 39-year-old actor allegedly paid the two men $3,500 to stage an attack on him in the street. He claimed to have been assaulted by white men wearing MAGA hats in Chicago, saying they poured bleach on him, used a rope tied into a noose, and subjected him to racist and homophobic slurs.
The police identified the alleged attackers by tracking information related to the Uber that transported them. Surveillance footage also captured Smollett and the two rehearsing the attack in the days leading up to the incident.
Zoe Papadakis ✉
Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.
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