Special Prosecutor to Investigate Dismissal of Jussie Smollett Charges - Rolling Stone
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Special Prosecutor to Investigate Sudden Dismissal of Jussie Smollett Charges

Judge Michael Toomin said prosecution may not have been legally sound from the beginning

Actor Jussie Smollett looks on during a press conference before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped, in ChicagoJussie Smollett, Chicago, USA - 26 Mar 2019

A Cook County judge has ordered a special prosecutor to look into the sudden dismissal of charges against Jussie Smollett.

Paul Beaty/AP/Shutterstock

A Cook County judge ordered Friday that a special prosecutor review the dismissal of all charges against Jussie Smollett. The new investigation could potentially lead to Smollett being re-charged by a special prosecutor, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The ruling, made by Judge Michael Toomin, said that even though State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case, she didn’t have the “legal authority to then delegate that responsibility to her top deputy.” Since the deputy lacked any real authority, the Smollett case went through the courts without a prosecutor leading it, said Toomin.

“There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it floundered through uncharted waters, and it ultimately lost its bearings,” Toomin wrote in the 21-page opinion. “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 January, Smollett caused a media frenzy after he reported that he was attacked by two men near his apartment where they put a noose around his neck and yelled racist and homophobic slurs. By February 20th, he was charged with disorderly conduct when police discovered “he had agreed to pay $3,500 to the two brothers to stage the attack.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a Grand Jury alleging he lied to police on March 8th, but less than three weeks later Foxx’s office announced that all charges against Smollett had been dropped without providing any rationale. The investigation of the case will likely lead to a probe into the ethics of how Foxx’s office handled the case.

Smollett’s life and career has taken a hit from the bizarre nature of the case. The actor, who starred on the Fox series Empire, won’t be returning for the final season. Because of the police overtime for investigating the alleged attack against Smollet, he faces a lawsuit from the city of Chicago. Meanwhile, the two brothers who have alleged that Smollet “paid them to help stage an attack on him” have sued his attorneys for defamation.

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