Judge orders file in Jussie Smollett criminal case be unsealed

Judge orders file in Jussie Smollett criminal case be unsealed

Judge orders file in Jussie Smollett criminal case be unsealed

Smollett's attorney had argued that the public didn't need to see the evidence in order to be kept informed about the "process" of the case.

After court, Tribune attorney Natalie Spears, who represented the news media in the case, said the judge's decision should be applauded.

Chicago officials and the city's Police Department fumed after a lone prosecutor made a decision to drop the case.

The Chicago Sun-Times - one of the papers requesting access to the Smollett file - reported that the Cook County judge, Steven Watkins, ordered the documents unsealed because Smollett and his attorneys had "not shown good cause to rebut the public presumption of access". "By doing so, the court can not credit his privacy interest as good cause to keep the case records sealed", the decision said.

Smollett was arrested for allegedly filing a false police report and faced 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the incident. The city's state attorney Kim Foxx got them sealed after her highly questionable "alternative prosecution" deal let Smollett entirely off the hook and loudly proclaiming his exoneration.

Attorneys for Smollett, however, argued that he is entitled - like thousands of other defendants - to have his arrest records sealed or even expunged. "After the March dismissal, he stood in front of numerous cameras... in the courthouse lobby speaking about the case".

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But he was charged after Chicago police determined that Smollett had agreed to pay $3,500 to two brothers he knew to stage the attack.

Watkins is expected to rule on the request to unseal the file at a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.

Back at the end of January, Smollett claimed when he was getting Subway in downtown Chicago in the middle of the night he was attacked out of nowhere by two racist and homophobic white Trump supporters who punched him, put a noose around his neck and poured chemicals on him.

In addition to the inspector general's review of Foxx's handling of the case, a retired appeals court judge is seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the Smollett case.

The files were originally sealed under an IL law that allows the documents of dismissed cases to remain sealed.

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