Four months after Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against him related to a purported “hate crime” that Chicago police claimed he fabricated, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett may be in hot water once again.
TMZ reports that a judge has assigned a special prosecutor to review the decision to dismiss 16 counts of disorderly conduct in February, stemming from allegations that Smollett had filed a false police report when he claimed he was attacked by two men in the early morning hours of January 29.
TMZ appears to have obtained documents of the judge’s order, which reportedly say: “If reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Smollett, in the interest of justice the special prosecutor may take such action.”
According to ABC 7 Chicago, the judge specifically questioned State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s decision to assign Smollett’s case to a deputy to oversee it after she withdrew from prosecuting it. The judge reportedly referenced a statement made by Alan Spellberg, supervisor of the Criminal Appeals Division, in an April email to the State’s Attorney office challenging Foxx’s handling of the case.
“My conclusion from all of these authorities is that while the State’s Attorney has the complete discretion to recuse herself from any matter, she cannot simply direct someone (even the First Assistant) to act in her stead,” Spellberg wrote.
Depending on the findings of the review, the special prosecutor could re-charge Smollett, who has maintained for months that he was telling the truth when he said two men in masks attacked him near his apartment building on a frigid January morning. But Chicago police have said they believe Smollett paid those two brothers, with whom he was previously acquainted, paid them $3500 to orchestrate a hoax hate crime.
Smollett has not yet publicly commented on the special prosecutor review. According to ABC 7, Foxx could appeal the judge’s decision.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Paul Beaty]