A special prosecutor has been asked to look further into the investigation of actor Jussie Smollett, following an alleged assault that took place earlier this year.
The Empire actor pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct at a hearing back in March, which followed his arrest in February for filing a false police report. Smollett had been accused of lying to police about an alleged racist and homophobic attack he said he was the victim of on January 29. All criminal charges against him were dropped on March 26.
Now, a Cook County judge has ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor to re-examine the investigation. According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Michael Toomin has ruled that “the unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
In the 21-page statement, Toomin also mentioned Illinois State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the prosecution and appointed an assistant working under her to see Smollett’s case through trial. Toomin noted that Foxx did not have the legal right to assign somebody else that position, and that the special prosecutor could potentially “…recharge Smollett or bring an indictment against anyone else if there were reasonable grounds to do so.”
“By mutual agreement, the study has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire,” a statement from Fox confirmed.