CHICAGO - Jussie Smollett is once again asking that the charges against him be dismissed in a Chicago court, arguing that the grand jury testimony used in his second indictment is invalid.
The former “Empire” star is facing renewed charges for allegedly staging a hate-crime attack against himself in January 2019. At the time, Smollett claimed he was accosted by men who beat him, tied a rope around his neck and allegedly said, “this is MAGA country.” However, it soon came to light that Smollett's alleged attackers were Abel and Ola Osundairo, two men he knew from the production of the FOX drama.
According to Page Six, it is the testimony of the two brothers that’s the basis for Smollett’s new calls to dismiss the charges against him. After initially dropping felony charges against him in March 2019, Chicago Judge Michael Toomin ruled the case needed to be investigated by a special prosecutor. As a result, new charges were brought against Smollett in February 2020. However, they relied on testimony transcripts taken from the Osundairo brothers from the case that was dropped.
Smollett’s lawyers said the renewed charges based on “illegal and incompetent evidence” should be thrown out.
“The OSP cannot have it both ways. It cannot convene a special grand jury based on Judge Toomin’s Order but then rely on the transcripts from those ‘void’ proceedings to secure a new indictment,” the motion states, according to Page Six.
“Furthermore, there is no legitimate reason why the Osundairo brothers were not called to provide live testimony to the special grand jury, particularly when they live locally in Chicago, were available and cooperating with the OSP, and reportedly met with the OSP for hours only one month earlier,” the motion continues.
Smollett’s lawyers allege that the prosecution didn’t want to risk perjury by the brothers and therefore avoided putting them on the stand. They call the omissions “substantial and prejudicial” and therefore believe Smollett was never granted due process. They also allege that the prosecution ignored a statutory requirement to inform grand jurors that they could demand live testimony from the brothers if they wanted to.
A hearing on the matter is currently scheduled for Oct. 14.