It looks like actor Jussie Smollett has found himself back in court. Smollett appeared in an Illinois appellate court on September 12 in an attempt to appeal his 2019 conviction for orchestrating a “hate crime” against himself.
In his claim, the actor stated that anger over his case had led to reinstatement of charges that had already been dropped.
But is double jeopardy a factor?
In January 2019, Jussie Smollett reported to police that he was attacked by two men shouting racist and homophobic slurs.
The two men were later identified as brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo with whom Smollett had worked on the show “Empire.”
During the trial, they testified that Smollett had paid them to attack him.
He was convicted on five out of six felony counts of disorderly conduct for lying to police.
Afterward, a 150-day jail sentence was imposed in 2022 but he only spent six days behind bars before being released pending appeal results which will take several weeks more.
Smollett’s lawyers argue in his written appeal that his 2021 trial violates the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy – being punished for the same crime twice – since he already performed community service and forfeited a $10,000 bond as part of an agreement with prosecutors back in 2019 when they dropped initial charges against him.
To counter this argument, prosecutor Dan Webb said there was room for new charges without infringing on double jeopardy safeguards because according to Illinois law it isn’t considered double jeopardy if the defendant hasn’t gone to trial or pleaded guilty yet.