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American News Feb 27, 2022 7:26 PM EST

Jussie Smollett files motion to toss out guilty hate hoax verdict

Smollett's attorneys are requesting that his convictions be vacated or that the court grants him a new trial.

Jussie Smollett files motion to toss out guilty hate hoax verdict
James Anthony Montreal QC

Lawyers representing Jussie Smollett have filed a motion asking a Chicago judge Friday to throw out the convicted hate hoaxer's guilty verdict or grant the disgraced actor a new trial. Smollett's legal counsel are arguing that his constitutional rights were violated by the court during the jury selection process.

Smollett's legal counsel claim that the court made numerous errors during the high-profile trial in 2021, calling it "a lightning rod for the political divisions plaguing the country," according to a filing obtained by the New York Post.

In the legal motion, Smollett's attorneys argued that his right to a public trial was violated because the amount of spectators and members of the press observing were limited due to COVID-19 restrictions in place amid the pandemic.

The motion alleges the court endorsed "procedures and tactics" that allowed prosecutors to exclude black and gay potential panelists from the jury box.

"The State failed to prove the Defendant guilty of the charges against him
beyond all reasonable doubt and failed to prove every material allegation of the indictment beyond all reasonable doubt," attorney Mark Lewis wrote.

"As such, the Defendant now respectfully requests that his convictions be vacated or in the alternative, that the Court grant the Defendant a new trial," he stated.

The defense's post-trial motion came two weeks before Smollett was set to be sentenced. Smollett faces up to three years behind bars on each of the five counts of felony disorderly conduct. Sentencing will be up to Judge James Linn who will determing whether Smollett gets any time at all, the New York Post reported.

Smollett was found guilty in December of staging a hate crime after alleging that two pro-Trump bigots attacked the celebrity on a cold night in January 2019.

During the trial, Smollett's story did not hold up under intense scrutiny. Among other things, a Subway sandwich he was carrying with him at the time he claimed to have been assaulted somehow made it back home intact afterwards.

After the conviction, Smollett's lead attorney said they're planning to appeal and that the actor is "100 percent confident" he will be cleared by an appeals court.

Following the thousands of hours the Chicago Police Department spent investigating Smollett's hate crime hoax, he is being sued over $130,000 for the time spent by the police department's officers investigating the incident.


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