Jussie Smollett Conviction Upheld By Illinois Appeals Court

Jussie Smollett Conviction Upheld By Illinois Appeals Court

An Illinois Appeals Court has upheld Jussie Smollett‘s disorderly conduct conviction. 

The three-judge panel affirmed the conviction by a 2-1 vote. Smollett’s lawyers can appeal this decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which will decide whether to hear the case. 

Unless the Supreme Court reverses the appeals court ruling, Smollett must complete the 150-day jail sentence handed down in 2022. He spent only six days behind bars before he was released while he appealed his conviction.  

In September, the Illinois appeals court panel heard arguments from his attorneys, who said his convictions should be tossed out.

Smollett, best known for his role as Jamal Lyon on the TV drama Empire, claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in Streeterville in 2019. He was charged with 16 felonies, alleging he orchestrated a fake hate crime against himself. Those charges were dropped.

A new indictment and trial followed, and Smollett was convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct in 2021. Smollett filed an appeal in March 2022, challenging his conviction.

His attorneys have argued he is being punished for the same crime twice because he forfeited his $10,000 bond payment and agreed to perform 16 hours of community service when Cook County prosecutors dropped the original charges.

A judge later ruled that the deal was invalid and appointed a special prosecutor who filed the new charges leading to Smollett’s conviction.

Smollett’s team has argued that the trial violated his Fifth Amendment protections against double jeopardy.

The appeals court decision ruled that Smollett was not denied due process and “given the absence of a non-prosecution agreement from [the Cook County State’s attorney], re-prosecuting was not fundamentally unfair.” 

This story was originally published by CBS Chicago on Dec. 1, 2023.


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