An Illinois judge on Thursday ordered “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s criminal case file unsealed, potentially setting up the release of a wealth of information surrounding the controversial case.
The decision came months after Cook County prosecutors dropped charges alleging that the “Empire” actor staged a hate crime attack on himself.
Cook County judge Steven G. Watkins vacated the sealing order on Smollett’s docs. When the state attorney asked whether they could have more time to redact personal information, Watkins said “act as if the documents were never sealed in the first place.”
In January, Smollett filed a police report alleging that two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him as he was walking home from a fast food eatery. Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made racist and homophobic comments and yelled Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “This is MAGA country,” before fleeing the scene.
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Surveillance video reportedly revealed brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo purchasing the rope allegedly used in the attack.
Smollett was later arrested for allegedly filing a false police report and faced 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the incident. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges against Smollett without explanation, though his bail was forfeited.
Smollett has maintained his innocence and insisted the hate attack was real. The city of Chicago is now suing the actor in an effort to recoup resources spent investigating the alleged hoax.
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The brothers are suing Smollett’s attorneys for defamation of character in relation to the case.
Fox News’ Kyle Rothenberg and Jessica Sager contributed to this report.