Cook County judge Steven G. Watkins ordered on Thursday that the files in the Jussie Smollett assault case, be released by the Cook County State’s Attorney.
What We Know:
- The Empire actor was accused of staging an attack against himself in January but prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett on March 26.
- The New York Times reported that the court approved Smollet’s lawyer’s request to seal the case, but news organizations argued for the need for transparency. Attorney Natalie Spears, who represents media organizations, noted that “the public has a right to know what their government did here and why.”
- Smollett’s legal team opposed the request, saying that Smollett had the right to be left alone after the charges were dropped but Judge Watkins disagrees.
- In a 10 page ruling, Watkins said “While the court appreciates that (Smollett) was in the public eye before the events that precipitated this case, it was not necessary for him to address this so publicly and to such an extent. By doing so, the court cannot credit his privacy interest as good cause to keep the case records sealed.”
- The State’s Attorney office said in a statement that they would comply and release the files which should be released by June 3.
Empire has been renewed for its sixth and final season, however, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said that there were “no plans” for Smollett’s character to return to the show at this time…darn.