Actor Jussie Smollett may be heading back to jail after losing his appeal Friday on his previous conviction of staging a hate crime against himself in 2019.
TMZ reported an Illinois appeals court upheld the decision with a three-judge panel voting 2-1.
Even with the Friday ruling, Smollett’s team plans to continue to fight the conviction.
A representative told the outlet, “We wish to highlight that the decision was divided, with Justice Lyle offering a detailed analysis in favor of Smollett.”
His team believes they have a case as Justice Freddrenna Lyle was the lone judge who voted to throw out the conviction, according to The Associated Press.
Smollett’s multi-year legal case began in January 2019 when he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime, as two masked men allegedly attacked him and yelled racial and anti-gay slurs in Chicago.
His accusations soon began to unravel, and it was revealed Smollett orchestrated the hoax.
Smollett’s case became even messier when Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx declined to prosecute the case.
After the inevitable backlash over Foxx’s decision, special prosecutor Dan Webb was then brought onto the case which resulted in Smollett ultimately being convicted on five counts in 2021.
Lyle stated she thinks the conviction was “fundamentally unfair” as Smollett served community service back in 2019 as part of a deal to close the case.
“It was common sense that Smollett was bargaining for a complete resolution of the matter, not simply a temporary one,” Lyle stated per AP.
Webb told TMZ, “Having a dissenting voice in the ruling is not uncommon.”
“The appellate court ruled on every issue Mr. Smollett raised in our favor and against him,” he added. “This was a resounding and profound victory for us today.”
The “Empire” actor previously served only six days of his 150-day sentence in 2022, as he was released as he has attempted to appeal the verdict.
While Smollett can no longer legally appeal Friday’s decision according to Webb, the actor “can file a petition for a higher appeal to The Illinois Supreme Court.”
Webb added: “This is purely discretionary meaning the court does not have to hear this appeal.”
“If the Supreme Court decides to hear his appeal, there will be briefs filed and a hearing date set,” Webb continued. “If not, then the case goes back to the trial court, which will execute his sentence.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.