CHICAGO, IL – Beleaguered Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett encountered yet another setback in his ongoing legal saga on Friday, when a judge denied his request to have his criminal case dismissed in connection with filing a police report about a homophobic and racist attack on his person that allegedly never took place. Instead, the former star of HBO’s “Empire” will face a criminal trial that will determine his guilt or innocence.
Smollett has been charged with six counts of felony misconduct for allegedly filing fake police reports that he had been attacked outside of his Chicago apartment building by masked supporters of former President Donald Trump early on the morning of January 29, 2019, saying it was because he was both Black and gay.
The actor maintains that the White assailants had beaten him, called him racist and homophobic slurs, tied a noose around his neck and poured bleach on him; as they fled, one of the attackers allegedly told Smollett that he was in “MAGA country,” referencing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
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However, Chicago Police, after conducting an investigation into Smollett’s claims, announced that Smollett had actually orchestrated the incident himself as a publicity stunt to help further his career as an actor. Police officials stated that he had hired two men to stage the attack, with surveillance video reportedly backing up police claims that Smollett was acquainted with the men.
In the fallout from his purported false claims of a bias assault, Smollett was written off of Empire.
Initially, 39-year-old Smollett was hit with multiple charges related to the alleged hoax, but those charges were later – and highly controversially – dropped by Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx’s office; later, a special prosecutor was appointed, who brought a bevy of similar charges against Smollett, to which the actor – who has repeatedly maintained his innocence – has pleaded not guilty.
Smollett’s trial is now set for November 29.
In addition to his criminal trial, Smollett is also being sued civilly by the city of Chicago for tens of thousands of dollars related to the cost encountered by police while investigating his allegedly fraudulent claims.