The prosecution of Jussie Smollett — a small-time felony case that has grown more bizarre with each passing week — may have taken its strangest twist. In a ruling that leaves open the possibility that Smollett could be charged again, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin ordered a special prosecutor appointed to re-investigate the circumstances of the onetime “Empire” actor’s alleged hoax attack in downtown Chicago.
Toomin blasted State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the prosecution, saying her botched decision to appoint her top deputy to prosecute Smollett after recusing herself invalidated the case from start to finish.
The rare move to name a special prosecutor marks the first step in what promises to be a full-blown probe of how Foxx’s office made the controversial decision to drop the disorderly conduct charges against Smollett a few weeks after he was indicted.
The investigation will keep the Smollett case in the headlines for months because it has raised the specter that Smollett could be charged all over again for what Chicago police determined to be a staged attack he orchestrated on himself because of dissatisfaction over his pay on the Fox series.
It is no news that the saga has been costly for the actor who won’t be returning to his role for the final season of “Empire.” He also faces a lawsuit from the city of Chicago seeking to recoup the cost of police overtime for investigating the incident. His attorneys have been sued for defamation by two brothers who claim Smollett paid them $3,500 to help him stage the attack.
Whether or not the case will be re-opened remains to be seen but we hope that this career-wrenching saga fades out very soon. There has been no public statement from Jussie Smollet or anyone who represents him at the time of this article.
We will continue to follow the story as events unfolds.