Jussie Smollett is attempting to have the latest criminal investigation against him stopped in its tracks.
According to documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight, the former “Empire” actor’s lawyers have filed four motions on Friday looking to have the recent appointment of a special prosecutor into his case overturned.
Judge Michael Toomin issued the order last month for a special prosecutor to investigate the hate crime hoax allegedly perpetrated by Smollett earlier this year.
The filing from Smollett’s legal team pushed back on the judge’s apparent conclusion that Smollett was guilty of the crime, and continues to assert that the actor was attacked by brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo.
According to the court documents, Smollett’s attorneys are suggesting that the decision to appoint a special prosecutor was based on false media reports and not the actual evidence, and they’ve requested a new judge based on what they’re claiming is “unfair bias and prejudice.”
In addition, Smollett’s legal team alleges that two independent witnesses have come forward who claim to have seen a young white male near the scene of the alleged attack, during the relevant time period, described as a white male in his mid-30s. According to one of the witnesses, the man appeared “to be waiting for something,” and as he turned away, the witness could see what appeared to be a rope hanging underneath his coat.
However, retired judge Sheila M. O’Brien issued a statement in response to Smollett’s legal team’s latest court filings: “Judge Toomin’s excellent ruling followed our state’s law. Smollett’s pleadings — from his Hollywood lawyers — are short on substance but big on flash and delay. I will file a short response and look forward to the truth coming out.”
Following the attack and alleged hoax, a grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts of lying to police officers, but the charges were eventually dropped.
Smollett is also facing a civil case by the City of Chicago for the cost of overtime for the investigation.