Jussie Smollett: What is the next step for the actor in his trial and his career?


Now, the rest of his trial is waiting – and his career with it.

Smollett, an actor in the "Empire" series, told the police that two assailants had instigated racist and homophobic insults, tied a rope to his neck and poured him an unknown substance.

But after a thorough investigation, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Smollett had paid $ 3,500 to his brothers to stage the attack and take advantage of the "pain and anger of racism to promote his career".

Jussie Smollett paid $ 3,500 to organize his attack, hoping to promote his career, police say

Two weeks after the alleged incident, when doubts about his story began to surface, Smollett expressed frustration at not being believed.

"I have the impression that if I had said that it was a Muslim, a Mexican or a black, I think the unbelievers would have supported me a lot," he said. Smollett told "Good Morning America". "And that says a lot about where we are as a country right now."

Very immediately, Smollett is scheduled to appear in court on March 14. In court last week, the judge awarded a $ 100,000 bail, and Smollett paid $ 10,000 bail. He has been ordered to abandon his passport and will remain under surveillance until his case is judged.

Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct under the section concerning the filing of a false police report, considered a class 4 crime. According to Illinois law, class 4 crimes are punishable by one to three years in prison.

Chicago defense attorney Steven Hunter told CNN in an email that his disorderly conduct was not generally considered a crime. But national and international attention on the case probably made the accusation more significant for the defendant, he said. And that could have an impact on any future punishment if he is found guilty, he said.

"From my experience, the more publicity a case has, the more bad it is for the defendant," Hunter said.

More than a decade ago, Smollett had not disputed the possibility of providing false information to law enforcement in a 2007 crime case, according to Frank Mateljan, spokesman for the US Attorney General's Office. Attorney for the City of Los Angeles.

The case stems from a drunken driving stop in which Smollett gave the police the name of a third party.

The future of his advocacy

As in any criminal case, it is possible that Smollett and prosecutors will accept a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.

For example, a case of fake police report of felony dating back almost ten years suggests a possible way.

In 2010, Gary Hunninghake, a physician and professor at the University of Iowa, told the Chicago police that he had been assaulted and stabbed while he was running on the Riverwalk. Chicago. He then admitted that the attack had never happened and that he had been stabbed, reported the affiliate of CNN WLS at the time.
He was charged with a crime for hoax, according to the Cook County Court Records. In January 2011, he pleaded guilty to a charge of improper conduct of lesser offense, said CNN's WBBM affiliate.

Could Smollett and prosecutors consider a plea of ​​guilty? Until now, Smollett has continued to maintain his innocence. A statement released last week on behalf of the actor said that the bail hearing was an "organized police show that does not have its place in the US legal system".

"Mr. Smollett is a young man of irreproachable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to evade due process and surrender directly. to the trouble, "said the statement.

Steven Goldman, another Chicago defense attorney, told CNN that it would be difficult for the police to agree to a plea deal with Smollett because of the intense publicity that prevails there.

"Everyone knows publicly that it took so much resources from the Chicago Police Department, how are you going to justify it by slapping it on your fingers?" he said. "So, I think his case is going to be a little harder than that of an ordinary defendant because his profile is so (high) at the moment."

The future of his career

One thing is certain: Smollett will not be coming soon in Fox's "Empire" show.

The producers of "Empire" have decided to remove his character, Jamal, the last two episodes of the current season after his arrest this week. The decision was made "to avoid further disturbances on the set," the producers said.
The character of Jussie Smollett cut from the last 2 episodes of the season of

"The events of recent weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," the statement said. "Jussie has been an important member of our" Empire "family for five years and we love her immensely.While these allegations are very disturbing, we place our trust in the justice system as the process unfolds."

The statement was signed by seven "Empire" producers, including Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and showrunner Brett Mahoney. "Empire" is filming its fifth season in Chicago.

Whatever the outcome of his trial, Smollett's career prospects beyond "Empire" will be limited in the near future.

However, Jill Stanley, a defense lawyer and celebrity legal analyst, said he would have a chance to return to Hollywood if he showed "extreme responsibility" and apologized to the communities for the alleged hoax he had inflicted.

"I do not think Jussie Smollett 's career is completely over in Hollywood, we live in a forgiving society and I think in today' s world, people can understand a little more pressure. than before, "she said.

Howard Breuer, CEO of Newsroom PR, similarly stated that it was possible for Smollett to come back to show business where he admitted to a misconduct and apologized.

"In two years, if he's playing properly, I can see him getting new roles and even treating him as an embarrassing thing," said Breuer. "I do not guarantee that it can be rehabilitated in the eyes of Hollywood, but I say that some people see that they are able to get out of it."

But Ronn Torossian, CEO of the public relations company 5WPR, was less optimistic.

"I do not think Jussie Smollett, whether he pleads or not, has a career in Hollywood," he said.

CNN's Melissa Alonso contributed to this story.

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