Actor Jussie Smollett has appealed his conviction for simulating a hate crime.
The New York Post first reported On Thursday, the former “Empire” actor asked the Illinois Appellate Court for a new trial based on what he called “blatant and egregious prosecutorial misconduct.”
In a 102-page appeal filed Wednesday and obtained by The Post, Smollett’s attorneys said prosecutors pressured a defense witness to change his testimony and said the judge was biased against Black.
Last March, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail in December 2021 on five counts of disorderly conduct for simulating a racist, anti-gay hate crime.
He claimed he was walking into a Subway restaurant at 2 a.m. in Chicago in January 2019 when two men approached him in the dark, yelled obscenities at him like h—t and n—r, saying Chicago – this is “The Land of MAGA”, doused him with a chemical agent and put a noose around his neck.
Smollett recruited brothers Abimbolu and Olabinjo Osundaire to “attack” him, the two Nigerians said.
Smollett served six days of his sentence before being released while the case is on appeal.
Wednesday’s report made other accusations about the trial, according to the Post, saying that “the judge’s closing argument suggested that Mr. Smollett’s sentence had taken on a personal tone of punishment.”
The actor’s lawyers also argued that his conviction violated his right to double jeopardy.
The memo said prosecutors told him they would not pursue 16 counts of disorderly conduct because he had performed community service and forfeited his $10,000 bond with the city of Chicago.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Fox, one of the so-called “George Soros prosecutors,” has been widely criticized for her handling of the case, and a judge-appointed special prosecutor has reviewed her decisions and brought new charges.
“Mr. Smollett’s forfeiture of bail and community service during his first prosecution constituted a punishment, and thus his second prosecution and punishment for the same offenses violated the double jeopardy clause’s protection against multiple convictions for the same offense Smollett’s lawyers wrote.