In a surprise turn of events a Cook County judge last week ordered that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the sudden dismissal of all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett – adding that the short-lived prosecution may have been legally invalid from the beginning.
Smollett was indicted in February this year for disorderly conduct consisting of allegedly paying two Nigerian-American brothers to stage a fake hate crime assault on him and filing a false police report.
However, his defense team reached a deal with prosecutors in March in which all charges were dropped in return for Smollett performing community service and forfeiting his bond.
According to Rolling Stone, Judge Michael Toomin ruled on Friday that the State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had the right to withdraw herself from overseeing the prosecution of Smollett but however held no legal authority to then delegate that responsibility to her top deputy.
With the deputy holding no real authority, the Smollett case, therefore, made its way through the court system without a prosecutor at the helm, Toomin explained further.
“There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it floundered through uncharted waters, and it ultimately lost its bearings,” he wrote in the 21-page opinion, later adding that “the unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
In addition, Smollet is also facing a lawsuit from the city of Chicago “because of the police overtime for investigating the alleged attack”, as well as one from the Osundairo brothers themselves for defamation.