Earlier this month Jussie Smollett was indicted on six charges of disorderly conduct related to his claim he was the victim of a hate crime. Today, Smollett made an appearance in court where his attorney pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A somber looking Smollett, 37, entered a Cook County courthouse wearing sunglasses and sporting a beard, flanked by his legal teams and surrounded by reporters.
His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.
Smollett’s lawyers are arguing that the new charges amount to double jeopardy for their client. They are attempting to have the case dismissed but Judge Linn refused to grant a delay of the arraignment:
Smollett’s lawyers had requested a delay in the arraignment, saying they were filing paperwork with the state’s high court and a motion in Linn’s courtroom to dismiss the indictment on double-jeopardy grounds.
Linn did not delay the proceedings and instead set a $20,000 individual bond, releasing Smollett on his own recognizance, and ordered him to return to court March 18.
Smollett’s lawyers filed motions with the state’s high court Monday seeking a stay in the criminal case in Chicago, and asking that a prior court order establishing lawyer Dan Webb as special prosecutor be vacated. The order “vested the special prosecutor with overly broad duties that have now resulted in a second prosecution of Mr. Smollett, on identical charges that were previously nolle prossed by the duly-elected State’s Attorney,” the motion states.
Also present at court today were the Osundairo brothers.
Their attorney briefly spoke to the media and said her clients were dedicated to the truth coming out and to demonstrating regret for their involvement in the hoax. That didn’t sit well with Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian who told the media later, “I was surprised. I’ll leave it to you to wonder why they bothered to appear here with their attorney. There was obviously no reason for them to be present in court.”
Over the weekend there was a debate between State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who dismissed the charges against Smollett one year ago, and her three challengers. Foxx was on the defensive over her handling of the case. She has previously compared the announcement of new charges against Smollett just weeks before the election to James Comey’s announcement that the Clinton email case had been reopened.
Finally, here’s a local news report on the scene today. As you’ll see, a few reporters who were taking pictures as Smollett entered court today tripped over one another and hit the pavement. Maybe that’s a good metaphor for the media’s initial coverage of this case.