Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett claims double jeopardy

Former Empire actor Jussie Smollett could be forced to finish his 150 days jail sentenced for his fake hate crime if an appeals court doesn’t buy his double jeopardy claims

  • Jussie Smollett returned to court for the latest drama surrounding his fake attack in Chicago
  • The Empire star’s lawyers are claiming double jeopardy has been violated after he faced new charges in relation to his 2019 crime
  •  The Osundairo brothers who were paid $3,500 by Smollett to act as his ‘attackers’ opened up in a docuseries and called him a ‘crazy fraudster

Lawyers for disgraced actor and fake hate-crime victim Jussie Smollett claimed double jeopardy was violated when he faced new charges for his 2019 hoax. 

Smollett, 41, returned to court on Tuesday, where his attorneys told an Illinois appeals panel his convictions should be tossed.

The famous actor claimed to be a victim of a hate crime in 2019 and told the police he was assaulted by two white or light-skinned attackers who put a noose around his neck and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. It was made up and orchestrated by the Empire actor.

Smollett was charged with 16 felonies for his lies but the charges were dropped after Smollett forfeited the $10,000 bail he posted and agreed to complete 16 hours of community service.

He was then indicted and convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct. Smollett served six days of a 150-day sentence, before he was released on appeal. 

That appeal is now before the appeals panel who will decide if the second set of charges is in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause.  

Jussie Smollett, 41, staged an attack against himself in 2019 when he alleged that two people put a noose around his neck and yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him

The Empire star was charged with 16 felonies for his lies but they were dropped after he agreed to forfeit his bail and complete community service

Two brothers were originally arrested for attacking Smollett after being cornered at Chcago O'Hare airport following a trip home to Nigeria

He was then indicted and convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct. Smollett served six days of a 150-day sentence, before he was released on appeal

If the double jeopardy clause is applicable to Smollett’s case – because of the $10,000 he paid and the community service – it means the newest conviction would be tossed.

Irv Miller, a legal analyst for CBS Chicago, thinks that Smollett’s lawyers have a case.

He said: ‘There’s a legitimate legal argument here, based upon the fact that acts were taken against him that put him in jeopardy. 

‘He paid a fine. He continued with his community service, and he didn’t violate the terms of the agreement, which is typically required when you try to get rid of the agreement and say ‘Hey we’re going to start from scratch because you didn’t behave yourself.’ 

‘He did behave himself. He did his community service. He paid the fine, and the system decided, ‘Well that wasn’t good enough. We want to try him again.’

A the ruling will be released in the coming weeks. 

If his conviction is upheld, Smollett will face serving out the 150-day jail sentence he was handed in 2022.

Smollett has never admitted guilt even after paying $10,000 and doing community service hours in relation to his charges

The Osundairo brothers have since spoken out about Jussie, calling him 'crazy fraudster'

The two brothers who were arrested over the Jussie Smollett attack in February, 2019 have recently opened up in a five-part docuseries on Fox Nation.

The Osundairo brothers were cornered by Police at Chicago O’Hare airport after returning from a family trip to Nigeria in 2019 but found to be not guilty of attacking Smollett.

The men were actually two aspiring actors from Nigeria who the Empire star paid $3,500 to stage the hoax.

They have since spoken out about the ‘crazy fraudster’ who used them and their career dreams to paint himself as a ‘poster boy for activism.’

The brothers’ attorney Gloria Rodriguez told Dan Abrams that the brothers were ‘really glad that this case is moving forward’ but that if Jussie wins his appeal the brothers would be ‘really disappointed’. 

Rodriguez explained that the state decided not to prosecute but they did not decide that Smollett was not guilty and not that they can’t renew the charges leaving the realm of double jeopardy to be debated by the court in upcoming weeks.

Smollett has never made a statement accepting guilt for staging the attack against him, which the prosecutor pointed out on Tuesday. 

In a courtroom outburst after his sentencing on March 10, 2022, Smollett shouted: ‘I am innocent – I could have said that I was guilty a long time ago’ as he was escorted out by police deputies. 


January 29, 2019: Smollett tells police he was attacked at around 2am while walking home from Subway. He says his attackers were white or light-skinned, and that they put a noose around his neck and yelled racial and homophobic slurs 

Smollett, on police bodycam, shows police the noose around his neck that he claimed his attackers put there

January 30: Details are leaked to the public and Smollett wins a groundswell of support. Chicago PD vows a swift investigation to find the attackers 

February 2: Smollett opens a concert in West Hollywood, California, with an emotional speech, saying he had to play the show because he couldn’t let his attackers win.

February 13: Unbeknownst to the public, Chicago PD investigators have zeroed in on the brothers after reviewing surveillance footage from the night of the attack and Lyft and Uber records. They pick up the brothers at the airport as they return from Nigeria. 

They are released without charge. 

By then, stories had leaked from Chicago PD that some suspected Smollett of lying.  

February 14: Jussie Smollett appears on Good Morning America to tearfully protest that he is telling the truth. 

Robin Roberts shows him surveillance footage from the night of the attack and he says definitively that the men shown are his attackers

February 19: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recuses herself from the case because of her contact with Smollett’s family 

February 20: Smollett is charged with filing a false police report

February 21: Smollett surrenders to police but maintains his innocence 

February 22: Smollett’s character is removed from Empire 

March 7: A grand jury returns 16-count indictment charging Smollett with lying to cops repeatedly 

March 26: Charges against Smollett are dramatically dropped. The decision sparks public outrage

March 28: The City of Chicago says it will sue Smollett for $140,000 in wasted police resources 

April 23: Abel and Ola Osundairo file lawsuit against Smollett’s lawyers who called them liars on TV 

August 23: Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb named as special prosecutor to investigate why charges against Smollett were dropped

Feb 11, 2020: Smollett is indicted by a grand jury on six counts of felony lying to police

February 24 2020: Smollett pleads not guilty 

November 29, 2021: After an 18-month break due to COVID-19 affecting courts, Smollett’s trial finally begins in Chicago 

Dec. 6 2021: Smollett testifies at trial insisting he is telling the truth 

December 9: Smollett is convicted on five of the six counts of lying to police 

March 10 2022: Smollett is sentenced 

March 16 2022: Smollett is released by an appeals court in a 2-1 decision while his petition to have the conviction overturned is reviewed


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