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Jussie Smollett’s jury selection begins on Monday

by: Sam Charles, Judy Wang

Posted: Nov 29, 2021 / 6:05 am CSTUpdated: 11/29/2021 / 9:34 AM CST

9:28 amSmollett, family is on trial

The selection of the jury began on Monday morning in the criminal case against the former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

Smollett faces six criminal charges for filing a false report in Streeterville in January 2019 based on his allegations that he was the subject of a racist and homophobic attack.

Cook County Judge James Linn is overseeing the trial, and the trial could take an entire week.

A grand jury, staffed by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb, brought charges against Smollett in February 2020 – about a year after the Cook County Attorney’s Office swiftly dismissed the initial charges against Smollett.

Webb and his colleagues arrived at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 8:20 am

Smollett and his family arrived at the courthouse just after 9 a.m. His arms were crossed with his mother’s arms as they passed a crowd of news cameras in the courthouse lobby.

When they reached the seventh floor, Smollett and his followers were briefly stopped by a deputy of a Cook County sheriff. Smollett’s mother, still crossing one arm with her son, made the sign of the cross before entering Linn’s courtroom.

Linn called the case at 9:23 a.m.

CHICAGO – Starting Monday, a Cook County jury will be selected and tasked with deciding whether or not former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett orchestrated a hate crime in Streeterville nearly three years ago.

The case grabbed the city when it was first brought into the public eye. Smollett, a black and gay actor on the Fox series “Empire,” told Chicago police that he was attacked by two masked men in the middle of a cold night after leaving a subway restaurant.

Smollett said his attackers used homophobic and racial slurs while putting a noose around his neck.

Jussie Smollett: A timeline of events as a jury selection set to begin on Monday

Smollett himself was suspected shortly thereafter, and he was charged with making a false report. Cook County attorney Kim Foxx said she “pulled out” of the case to “resolve issues of impartiality.” Shortly after he was charged, Empire producers said Smollett’s character would be written off the show.

However, the charges against Smollett were quickly dropped in March 2019 without much explanation. The city later filed a federal lawsuit against Smollett to get back the money spent investigating Smollett’s first aggression lawsuit.

Eventually Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Dan Webb – the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois – to be the special attorney tasked with determining whether the prosecution had misconduct in setting the charges, and to decide whether Smollett should become a criminal charges.

A grand jury filed a six-count indictment against Smollett in February 2020.


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