(Joshua Paladino, Headline USA) Jussie Smollett‘s attorneys filed a motion with a Chicago court, requesting that the judge either dismiss his guilty verdict or hold a new trial for his hate hoax crime.
The “Empire” actor’s attorneys said that the court did not respect Smollett’s Constitutional rights, reported Post Millennial.
They said that the trial became “a lightning rod for the political divisions plaguing the country,” and that the court committed many errors during the trial.
The attorneys filed the motion two weeks before Smollett was scheduled to be sentenced, the New York Post reported. They argued that COVID-19 restrictions prevented the court from holding a truly public trial because spectators and journalists could not freely observe the proceedings.
Attorney Mark Lewis wrote that the court committed a “particularly prejudicial” act by refusing to let the defense attorneys ask potential jurors questions before their appointment.
Plus, he argued that the court of public opinion might have swayed the jury’s decision.
“Even before the verdict was out, most Americans who had not seen the evidence in the courtroom, were convinced that Jussie had committed the crime,” Lewis wrote.
The court also allegedly used “procedures and tactics” to prevent black and gay jury members from deciding Smollett’s fate.
Last December, a jury convicted Smollett on five felony counts of disorderly conduct for staging an anti-black, anti-gay hate hoax.
He hired two African friends to stage an attack against him, and then he filed a false police report which stated that the assailants poured bleach on him, tide a noose around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
Each felony conviction carries up to three years in prison, for a total possible prison sentence of 15 years.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Linn will have discretion in the sentencing, and he could let Smollett go without prison time.