- Actor Jussie Smollett became famous on 'Empire'
- He staged a hoax attack that became a big scandal
- A judge has overturned his conviction appeal
An Illinois appeals court handed down the ruling Friday, with the three-judge panel voting 2-1 to uphold Jussie's conviction ... according to new legal docs obtained by TMZ.
The glitz and glamour of Hollywood took a backseat as 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett, 41, faced a stark reality check from the Illinois Appeal Court. The court's decision? A 2-1 opinion upholding his five felony convictions for disorderly conduct linked to the notorious 2019 hate crime hoax.
Jussie's mistake bites him again!
Smollett's short-lived freedom after serving just six days behind bars could soon be a distant memory. Back in 2019, Smollett's tale of a horrific homophobic and racist attack sent shockwaves through Tinseltown and beyond. But as the Chicago police dug deeper, the plot thickened, and Smollett's story unraveled faster than a Hollywood script.
The twist? Smollett himself was accused of paying two acquaintances from 'Empire' to stage the whole ordeal. Despite a fierce legal battle where Smollett's attorneys decried the justice system's alleged racial bias, the appellate court was unmoved.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb hailed the ruling as "a resounding and profound victory," while Smollett's camp, undeterred, pledged to take the fight to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Appellate Judge Freddrenna Lyle stood alone in her dissent, arguing that Smollett's prior community service deal should have been the end of it. But in the court of public opinion and law, it seems Smollett's performance failed to convince.
Smollett's lawyers claimed his conviction violated his fifth amendment rights against double jeopardy, which is a legal protection against a person being punished for the same crime twice.
The special prosecutor disagreed with their premise, arguing that Smollett did get due process and was never prosecuted in the 2019 case, adding that the agreement for his release included an understanding that he could be re-charged for the original crime.
In 2021, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail. He spent six days in jail after filing his appeal.
Special Prosecutor Dan. K. Webb issued a statement saying, "As the appellate court noted, Mr. Smollett 'challenge(d) virtually every aspect of' the prosecution, and the appellate court correctly rejected each and every one of those challenges.
"Today's decision is a validation of Winston & Strawn's tireless work on this matter and a resounding victory for justice. We are proud to have prevailed in a case that, we believe, can help restore the public's confidence in the Cook County justice system. The appellate court's decision affirms that the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate Mr. Smollett's staged fake hate crime was justified."
The 'Empire' actor's legal team filed the appeal in March 2023. In documents obtained by Fox News Digital at the time, Smollett's legal team argued the "renewed prosecution" violated Smollet's due process rights.
That's not all. In addition to that, the "circuit court judge improperly denied the defense motion for substitution of judge for cause because of his explicit bias towards Mr. Smollett, rendering every subsequent ruling and action in this case null and void."
But reality is what is is now...
As the curtain falls on this act of the legal drama, Smollett and his team are gearing up for a Supreme Court showdown. Will this be the final bow for the fallen star, or will a surprise twist grant him a reprieve? Stay tuned, folks, because this saga is far from over.