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Jussie Smollett Back in Court After Being Convicted of MAGA ‘Hate Crime’ Hoax

Jussie Smollett, the actor convicted of orchestrating a “hate crime” against himself in 2019, appeared in an Illinois appellate court on Tuesday, seeking to have his convictions overturned. Smollett’s lawyers argued that anger over the case led to the reinstatement of charges that had been properly dismissed, USA Today reported. Smollett took a spectator’s seat in court, listening during the hour-long oral arguments before a three-judge panel, according to the outlet. “Public outrage against the defendant cannot overrule the rule of law,” said one of Smollett’s lawyers, Nenye Uche. If the appeal fails, Smollett will have to finish serving a 150-day jail sentence imposed in 2022. “Smollett spent just six days in jail before his release pending the outcome of the appeal. A ruling is expected to take several weeks,” USA Today reported. According to USA Today, Smollett’s lawyers argued in his written appeal that his 2021 trial “violated his Fifth Amendment protections against double jeopardy — being punished for the same crime twice.” They said Smollett had already performed community service and forfeited a $10,000 bond as part of a 2019 agreement with prosecutors to drop initial charges. After Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped those charges against Smollett, special prosecutor Dan Webb pressed new ones in 2020. “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,” Smollett’s appeal says. Sean Wieber, the special prosecutor’s representative, argued that the dismissal by Foxx’s office left room for new charges without infringing on double jeopardy safeguards. “If a defendant hasn’t gone to trial and has never pleaded guilty, it’s typically not double jeopardy if the defendant is indicted a second time on the same charges,” USA Today reported. “Illinois law is crystal clear,” Wieber said, adding that “Mr. Smollett has never made any statement that he accepts guilt.” In January 2019, Smollett reported to police that two men had attacked him, yelling racist and “homophobic” slurs and proclaiming that downtown Chicago was “MAGA country.” The men were later identified as Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, brothers whom Smollett knew from their time working together on the television show “Empire.” The brothers testified during Smollett’s trial that the actor had paid them to attack him. Smollett was convicted on five of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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