Jussie Smollett’s double-jeopardy defense can’t get him off on new charges related to his alleged Chicago attack-hoax, a judge ruled.
The disgraced former “Empire” actor‘s lawyers argued that the new six-count indictment brought forward by a special prosecutor in February — 13 months after he allegedly faked a racist and homophobic beating — should be tossed because it violated his rights against double jeopardy, which prevents people from being punished for the same crime twice.
But a Cook County judge said Friday that the argument wasn’t valid, because Smollett was never punished by the court, The Chicago Tribune reported.
“There was no trial in this case, there was no jury empaneled, no witnesses were sworn, no evidence was heard, no guilty pleas were ever entered … nothing like that ever happened,” Judge James Linn said of the 2019 case. “There was no adjudication of this case.”
Chicago prosecutors dropped the first set of charges in a deal with Smollett in which he agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and was not required to admit any wrongdoing.
The case stems from Smollett’s claim in January last year that he was attacked by two masked men who uttered President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Weeks later, police alleged he staged the attack with the help of two paid friends because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary.
Smollett denounced the new charges — which include disorderly conduct and lying to police — when they were brought in February, and said he maintains his innocence.