Jussie Smollett is pushing back against the appointment of a special prosecutor for his criminal case in Chicago ... and he's doing everything he can to stop it.
The actor's legal team filed three motions Friday, obtained by TMZ, seeking to overturn the appointment of a special prosecutor ... arguing it would expose Jussie to double jeopardy.
According to the docs, Jussie is trying to reverse the order issued last month by a Chicago judge, who faulted Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and laid the groundwork for Jussie possibly facing prosecution for allegedly faking the now infamous "attack."
Jussie's attorney, Tina Glandian, takes issue with the judge's apparent conclusion Jussie is guilty of staging a hate crime. In the docs, Jussie's legal team claims the Osundairo brothers attacked Jussie, got caught and then blamed him.
According to the docs, Jussie's attorney is floating the idea Abel and Ola Osundairo were motivated by homophobia, and she cites text messages from Ola degrading another man as a "fruit." His legal team is seeking grand jury testimony from the two brothers.
It's another twist in the ongoing Smollett saga ... as you know, the charges against Jussie were essentially dropped, even after the grand jury indicted him on 16 felony counts of lying to cops.
We broke the story ... Jussie claimed he was attacked by 2 masked men who beat him and put a rope around his neck while screaming homophobic and racial slurs. Police called BS.
The City of Chicago is also suing Jussie in civil court ... seeking to recoup the overtime costs of the investigation.
10:46 AM PT -- Jussie's camp says the new footage is edited together and doesn't have a time stamp. They point out at no time do you see them on camera passing each other.
However, here's the longer, unedited footage from the loading dock -- it shows what appears to be the brothers walk by, and after 27 seconds ... Jussie strolls by from the other direction on the same sidewalk.
Jussie Smollett and the Osundairo brothers had multiple close encounters -- all caught on camera -- BEFORE the alleged attack went down, but the outcome of those encounters is puzzling.
The video -- first found by Matt Finn of Fox News -- shows the icy street near Jussie's apartment building sometime in the hour prior to the 2 AM attack on January 29. First, the brothers are seen walking side-by-side down the street. At one point they pass under a street light and you can see one of them wearing a red hat.
A short while later, Jussie is seen walking in the opposite direction, North, on the same block heading in the direction of the Subway restaurant. For some reason, he's walking down the middle of the street, and not on the sidewalk.
There is no one else seen on the street at all.
There's also a video captured in a loading dock that shows the brothers walking past, and then 25 seconds later ... Jussie walks past the same loading dock, but again he's heading in the opposite direction. With no one else on the street ... it's virtually impossible the 3 men didn't see each other.
What's strange is ... if Abel and Ola Osundairo intended to legitimately attack Jussie, they had at least 2 opportunities prior to 2 AM. Why would they wait and wander the streets on a night when the temperature was around hovering at or just above zero??
BTW, the red hat one of the brothers was wearing is significant because they were seen on surveillance video one day earlier, buying items for the alleged attack ... and those items included a red colored hat.
Originally Published 9:03 AM PT
Jussie Smollett's camp is very upset over what they believe are untrue stories about what actually went down in January, when he says he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Sources directly tied to Smollett say the media has mischaracterized a text he sent to Abel Osundairo 4 days before the incident, where he said, "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?"
Our sources say Smollett insists the texts had nothing to do with a fake attack. Instead, he says the text was referencing a herbal steroid that reduces belly fat that was illegal in the U.S. According to his camp, Smollett said he wanted Abel to buy the pills when he went to Nigeria. And they note, shortly after receiving the text, Abel googled "banned supplements" and "steroids" on his phone.
Our sources go on to say ... Jussie's camp is also upset about a phone call the actor made to Abel after the incident. They say the media made it look like Jussie and Abel were in an ongoing conspiracy to make the "attack" seem real. The sources say the call was to give Abel a heads up detectives would be calling him to corroborate Jussie's timeline ... which includes a call Jussie made to Abel earlier in the evening to set up a training session the next day.
And, we're told Jussie's camp is especially upset at the Police Superintendent who claimed his wounds were self-inflicted, claiming Jussie didn't mention anything to the doorman as he entered his apartment building after the incident. Jussie's camp says the record is clear ... the doorman mentioned the cuts on his face, and Jussie responded, "I was just jumped."
The sources say ... Jussie's camp believes Abel's own words after the incident prove the attack was real. Abel texted him hours after the alleged attack, after it became public, "Bruh say it ain't true. I'm praying for speedy recovery. S**t is wild. [prayer emoji]."
Also, the sources say Jussie's camp is upset the media jumped on his initial statement that his attackers were white. They point to a security guard at the nearby Sheraton hotel who saw the 2 alleged assailants running from the scene wearing ski masks. The guard flashed a light at one of them, saw his eyes and nose bridge and told cops the person was white.
The camp says all of this is in police documents.
Jussie Smollett still had a noose around his neck more than 40 minutes after his alleged attack -- it's something we already reported, but now, for the first time, we see the video.
Chicago police just released a boatload of evidence, including body cam video of officers responding to the 911 call back in January.
Cops ask Jussie if he wants to take the noose off ... he says he would take it off, but he wanted them to see it before he did.
The actor told the officers he did not want to be recorded and they double checked with him to see if it was okay for them to turn off their body cams.
When cops arrived, Jussie was concerned about his neighbors hearing the fuss and he quickly invited them into his apartment.
He also mentioned his alleged attackers poured bleach on him.
One of the videos [above] is short, but shows the Osundairo brothers running on the street at 2:04 AM after the alleged attack.
Another video shows the Osundairo brothers in a taxi before arriving at the scene of the alleged attack. They're wearing hoodies and one of them is clearly wearing a ski mask as they get out of the car a few blocks from Jussie's apartment at 1:22 AM. The "attack" happened around 2 AM.
It's interesting ... when they get out of the taxi, you can see them through the front windshield, and they don't appear to be holding anything -- no noose, no bags -- that might be used for the alleged attack on Jussie.
As you know, Jussie was indicted on 16 felony counts of lying to cops for allegedly staging the attack, but those charges were dropped. A special prosecutor will now review the way the case was handled and it's possible new charges could be filed.
10:05 AM PT -- Kim Foxx responded to the order, saying, "I respectfully disagree with the court's conclusion that, in the absence of any conflict, the appointment of a special prosecutor is required."
She continued, "As always, I remain committed to transparency, justice, and the public safety of the communities we serve."
Jussie Smollett could actually be prosecuted for allegedly faking the now infamous attack on the streets of Chicago.
A Chicago judge has ordered a special prosecutor to be appointed to review the way prosecutors handled the case and ultimately dismissed it.
The judge said in his order, "If reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Smollett, in the interest of justice the special prosecutor may take such action."
This is a stunning turn of events ... as you know, the Office of State's Attorney Kim Foxx essentially dropped all charges against Jussie ... this after the grand jury indicted the actor on 16 felony counts of lying to cops. Jussie claimed he was attacked by 2 men who beat him and put a rope around his neck while yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Cops called BS.
The judge said, "unprecedented irregularities identified in this case" warrants the appointment of a special prosecutor. Some of the irregularities, according to legal docs:
The judge said the State's Attorney screwed the case up after Foxx recused herself, because of comments she had made about the case, there was no one in her office properly overseeing the case ... so says the judge.
The judge used a nautical metaphor to describe the screw-ups, saying, "There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it floundered through unchartered waters. And it ultimately lost its bearings."
Originally Published -- 9:29 AM PT
Bryshere Gray -- best known for his role as one of the Lyon children on "Empire" -- desperately needs to make a trip to the DMV ... because he was arrested for some driving-related offenses.
Bryshere was in Chicago Thursday when he was pulled over for a registration issue ... the tags didn't match the car. Cops then discovered he was driving his 2014 Rolls-Royce without a license or insurance.
The actor was booked on a misdemeanor -- registration that was not authorized on the vehicle -- and released. He was also cited for not having a license or insurance.
Jussie Smollett did not want to call police immediately after he was allegedly attacked ... at least according to a friend who did make a 911 call.
On the January 29 phone call, which Chicago PD just released, the friend says Jussie's "attackers" wrapped a noose around his neck, after getting jumped as he left a Subway restaurant.
The caller says Jussie didn't want to file a report, but he was going to force him to do so. The male friend sounded panicked as he said, "They put a noose around his neck" and added ... "this is really f**ked up."
Police had said the 911 call was made 40 minutes after Jussie got back to his Chicago apartment.
We broke the story ... Jussie claims he was jumped by 2 men who not only put the rope around his neck, but doused him in liquid he thought was bleach and yelled, "This is MAGA country!"
The city of Chicago is suing Jussie for the cost of its police investigation.
We're told Abel met Nate "The Snake" Jones through a well-connected boxing family in Chicago and they recently met up at Taylor Park Gym in Chi-Town to get in the ring and train. Nate's name carries weight in the boxing world ... the former pro heavyweight joined Mayweather Promotions as a trainer a little over a year after retiring and has trained Floyd in about a dozen fights ... including vs. Manny Pacquiao.
As we've reported ... Abel showed promise after mowing down opponents at the Golden Gloves tournament ... scoring first-round TKOs, unanimous decisions and, most recently, a first-round TKO in the senior novice 178-pound division to win the prestigious tourney.
Abel's still a raw talent -- he competed in a division for less experienced boxers between 21 and 35 who weigh 178 pounds or less -- but there's potential ... and further proof that if the Osundairo brothers really wanted to hurt Jussie in the "attack" ... it would've been vicious.
As you know ... Abel's lawyer says Jussie told them he wanted Abel to "attack" him, but not rough him up too badly. Since the "attack" ... Abel and his bro have struggled to land acting gigs but Abel's fortunes might have turned with Nate -- a former U.S. Olympic Boxing medalist -- now in his corner.
We're told Abel's training sesh wasn't a one-off, 'cause they plan to continue training. It's unclear if Nate thinks Abel's got what it takes to turn pro ... but training with a decorated trainer like Nate is a strong sign Abel's serious about boxing.
5/31 8:00 AM PT -- According to the investigation files ... when cops showed Smollett photos of the Osundairo brothers, presented as his alleged attackers, he replied it can't be them because "They are black as sin."
He also confirmed he knew the men and their relationship was good, saying ... "They are straight so we don’t have any problems with women or men. They did not owe me any money, I don’t owe them any money."
The 2 brothers Jussie Smollett still insists attacked him were loaded for bear -- with a handgun and plenty of ammo ... this according to Jussie's just-released police files.
Chicago PD released the docs Thursday outlining, from start to finish, the investigation into the alleged hoax. Included in the nearly 500 pages is a record of items cops seized during a February raid at the home of Abel and Ola Osundairo. Officers found a GunVault safe, and inside it was a cache of weaponry:
-- a hipoint model C9, 9MM caliber semi-auto pistol
-- 9MM caliber magazine with live rounds
-- 45ACP caliber magazines
-- Boxes labeled Remington 22 Rounds
-- a box labeled Hornady 00 buck shotgun shells
BREAKING:Police raided the home of two persons of interest in Jussie Smollett case last night. Both men are of Nigerian decent and have appeared as extras on the show. Police took bleach, shoes electronics and more.Officers asked family if they knew #Jussiesmollett. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/PDSFtf5jwb@CharlieDeMar
Cops also said they found a paper packet containing 2 small plastic bags with white powder, but there are no specifics about what that white substance was. As we previously reported ... cops found 5 bottles of bleach, a red hat and 2 laptops during the raid but we never knew about the safe.
DT took to Twitter Saturday, and seemingly out of nowhere ... he brought up the Smollett case again, saying that on top of great incompetence and corruption, the Smollett case "is also about a Hate Crime." Doesn't sound like he's referring to the crime Jussie reported either.
The Prez went on to write, "Remember, 'MAGA COUNTRY DID IT!' That turned out to be a total lie, had nothing to do with 'MAGA COUNTRY.'" Trump ended his tweet by saying, "Serious stuff, and not even an apology to millions of people!"
At first glance, it would appear 45 could be referring to the alleged hate crime Jussie claimed to be a victim of -- but on a second read, it kinda sounds like Trump believes the true hate crime was against "MAGA COUNTRY" ... and, in effect, himself too.
You'll recall ... Jussie's criminal case was dismissed, which only cost him a few thousand dollars and some community service. Although the Cook County State Attorney's Office insisted their decision wasn't an exoneration, Jussie doubled down and maintained his innocence.
This ain't the first time Trump has brought up Jussie's case -- it's actually the third. He tweeted about it soon after Cook County cut him loose, and then used the "Empire" actor as a rallying cry in Wisconsin later the same day.
One thing that's clear ... the President doesn't like his base being dragged through the mud.
Jussie Smollett won't be the only "Empire" actor who'll soon be out of a job -- 'cause the next season is going to be the show's last ... and the chances of him coming back for it continue to be slim.
FOX announced early Monday morning in its Upfront conference call that the network was canceling "Empire" after season 6, which will air next year. FOX Entertainment honcho Charlie Collier said they were turning the final season into a "large TV event" in an attempt to go out with "guns blazing."
When he was specifically asked about Jussie possibly coming back, Collier stuck to FOX's talking points from last month -- when it first announced the show's renewal -- saying there's an option to have Jussie return to the series, but there's no plans for it as of now.
As we reported ... FOX negotiated an extension to renew Jussie's option for season 6, but said they weren't planning on writing him back into the show. They essentially tied up his character's storyline with a wedding this past season, and had him sail off into the sunset.
Remember, Jussie is still in hot legal water with the City of Chicago ... which sued him for staging the "attack" and costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources.
Based on the network's language, it sounds like they're waiting to see how that whole thing shakes out first before getting Jussie back on board for one last round. Until then though, he's out.
Jussie Smollett's "Empire" costars aren't satisfied with Fox's plan to keep the actor's character off the upcoming season and are lobbying network execs to bring him back full-time.
Sources on the show tell us cast members -- including Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard -- feel Jussie deserves a fair shake, and that should include a full return to the show. Just last week, Fox announced Jussie got an extension through season 6, but also ... it had no plans to bring his character back to the show.
Our sources say as soon as the announcement was made, Jussie's costars got busy contacting "Empire" brass and pushing for his return.
As for why ... we're told the cast feels Jussie's character was an incredibly important part of the show, and they don't feel his return will hurt ratings. In one of the final episodes of season 5, Jussie's character, Jamal, got married in the first gay, black wedding on primetime TV.
We got Jussie out just before the episode aired, and asked how he was feeling. He said, "Pride."
Jussie's still got some serious legal issues ahead of him, though ... he's locked in a nasty civil lawsuit with the city of Chicago which sued him for the cost of the investigation into the alleged racist and homophobic attack.
One theory on Jussie's contract extension is that Fox is waiting to see how the case plays out before making a final decision on his future with the show.
The good news for "Empire" fans ... the show is coming back for Season 6. The bad news for Jussie Smollett -- he's not coming back.
Fox just issued the following statement ... "By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season 6, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to 'Empire.'"
Yep ... sounds weird, that Fox wants to keep Jussie hanging just in case, but that's the deal. It could be ... Fox is hedging its bets, to see what happens in the civil case in which the City of Chicago is suing the actor for the costs of the investigation. The upshot of that case -- Jussie will be tried for allegedly faking the "attack." Perhaps if he wins, Fox will reconsider.
As we reported, Jussie has had lunch meetings with "Empire" execs, and for a time it looked like he may come back, but now it seems Jussie needs to find other employment.
Here's the loose end ... by picking up/extending Jussie's option, it would seem they have to pay him something per the contract. After all, he couldn't really accept another gig if he could be called back to "Empire." So, is Jussie getting paid for not working on the show?
Kim Foxx, Chicago's top prosecutor, has just been subpoenaed to appear at a court hearing regarding her handling of the Jussie Smollett "attack."
The State's Attorney was hit with the subpoena by a retired appellate judge who is seeking the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into how Kim dealt with the super controversial case, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.
The report says retired judge Sheila O'Brien, who filed the petition for a special prosecutor, also filed a "notice to appear" in an attempt to get Jussie to attend Thursday's court hearing.
The retired judge reportedly requested Jussie and Foxx produce all original documents in the case to prove "that they have not been altered or destroyed."
Foxx has been harshly criticized ever since her office dismissed all 16 counts against Jussie over the alleged "attack."
The retired judge reportedly wrote that Foxx's handling of the case was "plagued with irregularity" and that "Foxx misled the public into believing that Smollett's case was handled like any other prosecution and without influence."
Foxx has defended the decision to drop the charges against Jussie ... and has said she welcomes an independent investigation.
We got Kellyanne out in Washington D.C. on Sunday, and our photog asked about the President taking aim at Jussie and ripping him as a "3rd rate actor" during a Wisconsin rally.
Conway, counselor to President Trump, goes even further ... saying there are lots of people in Chicago -- powerful ones too -- who are on Trump's side when it comes to Jussie and the alleged attack.
Check out our clip ... Kellyanne says Trump supporters should still be outraged over the whole case, and she hopes justice eventually comes for Jussie.
Jussie Smollett's got a lot of baggage, so he's enlisted his brother to help him load it up and move it out ... to a new pad, that is.
The embattled "Empire" star's baby bro, Jake, got down and dirty Thursday to help Jussie move out of his Studio City crib and into a new home. You can also see a moving crew helping big time ... hauling a bunch of Jussie's crap -- from workout equipment and lamps to chairs and mirrors.
Jake, who's also an actor, has stood firm -- like all of the Smolletts -- in his support of Jussie.
You might say Jake's going above and beyond for his bro ... because the move was going down while Jussie was in NYC power-lunching with "Empire" honcho, Brett Mahoney -- no doubt, discussing his future on the show.
Two-pronged attack -- Jussie handles biz, while his family handles the personal stuff.