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Double-jeopardy claim for Jussie Smollett could hark back to landmark case against mob hit man

Source: Chicago Tribune / Getty

In the midst of legal battles, former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has kept a very inconspicuous profile on social media. However, after not posting on Instagram since June 2019, Smollett returned to the platform to send out positive vibes during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 37-year-old actor posted a video to Instagram singing Stevie Wonder‘s “A Place In The Sun” with the caption, “Quarantine day 421…Hope y’all are staying safe. Spread love and kindness…not Rona.” He starts off singing, “Like a long lonely stream, I keep reaching towards the dream. Moving on, moving on.”

While many of the comment sections for Smollett’s Instagram posts have been turned off, Smollett decided to leave the comments on for this singing post. He received mostly love from friends and celebrities. Writer, director, and actress Lena Waithe posted two kissy face emojis, while “Harriet” actress Cynthia Erivo also supported him with heart emojis. Smollett’s sister Jurnee Bell also hopped into the comment section, writing, “This made me cry. I love you so much boo. Thank you for sharing your light. What a gift you are.”

 

Smollett’s “Quarantine day 421” comment most likely marks the days since January 29, 2019, when he was allegedly attacked by two men in masks who placed a noose around his neck and called him racist and homophobic slurs.

In February of 2019, Smollett was indicted by a Chicago grand jury after reports accused him of staging the hate crime. He was indicted with 16 low-level felony counts including filing a false police report.

In March, after Smollett turned himself in to cops, the State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all the charges against him. Since then, incidents related to the case have continued to pop up. The city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against Jussie claiming they spent $130,106 investigating a hate crime, which allegedly ended up being a false narrative made by Smollett.

Smollett countersued, naming the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, detectives Michael Theis and Edward Wodnicki, former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo in his lawsuit. Smollett’s attorney said that this group caused him economic harm, “humiliation, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress.”

The CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, who ripped into Smollett at the time of his first indictment, was eventually fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot for lying about drinking and driving. Recently, Smollett’s team subpoenaed a selection of documents related to the Johnson incident, most likely in hopes that it will help paint Johnson as an untrustworthy source in Smollett’s countersuit.

In February 2020, Smollett was indicted once again by a Chicago grand jury on six disorderly conduct charges, according to the office of Special Prosecutor Dan Webb.

“A Cook County grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Jussie Smollett with making four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime, knowing that he was not the victim of a crime,” Webb’s office said in a statement.

Smollett pled not guilty to all the charges, according to WGN. He has consistently denied making up attack claims since he was first indicted in 2019.

He was due back in court on March 18, although considering Illinois’ “stay at home” order due to the coronavirus outbreak, it’s not clear how the case will proceed.

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