News by VICE

We're Going to Get to Read the Secret Case Against Jussie Smollett Soon

“These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone,” a judge said in the decision to unseal Smollett's case.

by Emma Ockerman
May 24 2019, 2:42pm

Documents in the criminal case against Jussie Smollett will be unsealed, a judge ordered Thursday, opening up yet another chapter of the bizarre Chicago saga.

Smollett, an actor on FOX show “Empire,” said he was attacked in January by two men who put a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and hurled racial slurs at him. Weeks later, police charged him for allegedly staging his own hate crime.

But then, prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges against Smollett with little explanation in late March, and many of the files related to his criminal case were kept secret to protect his privacy.

Now, Smollet doesn’t have an adequate privacy concern, largely since he gave a bevy of interviews about the case, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins ruled. That means the public will have the chance to review the handling of his case — and likely soon. More documents will be released June 3, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx said according to the Chicago Tribune.

“These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone,” Watkins said, according to the Tribune. “While the court appreciates that (Smollett) was in the public eye before the events that precipitated this case, it was not necessary for him to address this so publicly and to such an extent.”

When prosecutors abruptly dropped the charges against Smollett, they cited his history of volunteer service and decision to forfeit his $10,000 bond as justification. But officials didn’t exonerate him, despite his lawyers’ continued assertions that he was an innocent victim.

Chicago officials were livid about the decision to drop charges and sued Smollett for repayment of the $130,000 in the police overtime required to investigate his claims. Smollet has refused to pay.

Cover image: FILE - This March 26, 2019 file photo shows actor Jussie Smollett before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)