Jussie Smollett’s previously sealed case file to be made public

Brenda Watkins
May 24, 2019

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he'd been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January.

O'Brien wants the former first lady's one-time chief of staff, Tina Tchen, to produce "any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning [Tchen's] conversations with Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett" at a May 31 hearing.

Smollett's attorney Brian Watson contended that the "Empire" actor has a right to privacy under various statutes that are afforded to thousands of other people every year, and that the media was allowed to cover the process of the case itself, so the public was not barred from learning any new developments.
In its April 16 response to the Tribune requests, Foxx's office said more records could be released if the seal was lifted.

"These are not the actions of a person seeking simply to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone".

In arguing that the records should be unsealed, Spears told the judge in a hearing earlier this month that it was pointless to keep the high-profile charges against Smollett - and their subsequent bombshell dismissal - under wraps because it had already made news all over the world.

Although the actor himself has sort of faded from the limelight since the case concluded - the show "Empire" will run for one more season, but Smollett's character will not return - the Smollett case exposed a series of freaky policies at work inside the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

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Smollett has maintained his innocence.

The ruling by Cook County Judge Steven Watkins comes after he heard oral arguments last week from attorneys over the case file, which was sealed in March, NBC Chicago reported. "The root of this problem is that the media, Mrs. Spears' clients, created publicity, and now her clients want to use that against someone who wants to get their rights back".

Surveillance video reportedly revealed brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo, who lived in Smollett's apartment building, purchasing rope similar to the kind used during the alleged attack.

Prosecutors dropped all charges with little explanation. "After the March dismissal, he stood in front of numerous cameras... in the courthouse lobby speaking about the case". "On several occasions, attorneys for defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case".

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the decision.

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