Jussie Smollett attorneys cannot call prosecutor to testify

Entertainment

FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2020 file photo, former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. A judge on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, granted lawyers for Jussie Smollett more time to prepare arguments on several issues, including whether they can introduce a key witness’s previous conviction for battery.
Cook County Judge James Linn Linn scheduled the next hearing in the case for Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Matt Marton, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — Jussie Smollett’s attorneys cannot call as a witness the Chicago prosecutor whose office dropped initial charges accusing the actor of staging a racist, anti-gay attack on himself in 2019, a judge ruled Thursday.

Smollett’s attorneys also cannot mention various lawsuits linked to his case, Cook County Judge James Linn said. But Linn said they can tell jurors about an AR-15 and other guns that were discovered after police searched the home of two brothers whom prosecutors said Smollett hiredto carry out the attack, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The AR-15 was legally owned and has since been returned to its owner, the judge noted.

Smollett is accused of lying to policewhen he reported that two masked men attacked him in downtown Chicago in January 2019. At the time, he was starring in the TV show “Empire,”which was filmed in Chicago.

After initial charges against him were dropped by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, a special prosecutor was appointed and charged him with felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing false police reports about what happened. The actor has denied the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.

Foxx came under criticism for her handling of the case. The special prosecutor concluded she and her office did nothing criminal but did abuse their discretion and made false statements about the case.

No trial date for Smollett has been set.

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