Jussie Smollet is back in court this morning in Chicago as a Judge will hear testimony to determine whether or not cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the 36-year-old actor’s criminal case case. Numerous national, international, and local media outlets are asking the court to be allowed to have video and digital cameras to record proceedings.
Accompanied by his legal team, Smollett arrived at Chicago’s Leighton Criminal Courthouse shortly after 11 a.m. (CST) for a hearing on media coverage of his case scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (CST) Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying separately to a Chicago Police officer and then a detective regarding the incident the he had described as a hate crime on Jan. 29. In the indictment Smollett is accused of falsely describing to police that he was hit by two men, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs and poured also chemical on him he identified as ‘bleach.’
The actor’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday. Once a trial judge is assigned, that judge could modify or reverse any ruling on media coverage of Smollett’s case.
Chicago’s CBS affliate, WBBM-TV reported that the attorney for the two brothers involved in the allegedly orchestrated attack against Smollett said Monday that her clients feel the actor betrayed them.
“This entire thing started because they put their trust in the wrong person,” attorney Gloria Schmidt said in an interview on CBS.
Schmidt represents Ola and Abel Osundairo, who allegedly told Chicago police that Smollett paid them $3,500 by check to stage a hate crime against him in January, because he was upset with his salary on “Empire.”
Police said, in reality, Smollett had paid the Osundairo brothers to stage the attack.
“They feel tremendously regretful for their role in this, and their involvement in the situation,” Schmidt said. “The impact that this has had – not only on them, but on minority populations – that weighs very heavily on them.”
Schmidt said the Osundairo brothers were friends with Smollett and worked out with him. At least one of the brothers had appeared as an extra on “Empire,” and Schmidt said they hoped Smollett could help their careers, but they now feel he betrayed them.
“They felt that their friend, someone who had helped them getting some connections, would not put them in a situation where they’re now being labeled as someone who would commit a hate crime,” she said. “I can tell you, with confidence, they did not commit a hate crime. They also did not know that their loyalty to him would be betrayed.”
During an interview Friday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, famed LA Criminal Defense attorney Mark Geragos, who was hired to represent Smollett said;
“What’s happening here is a media gang bang of this guy of unprecedented proportions,” he said. “I have never seen a media pendulum swing more quickly and more viciously and rob someone of their presumption of innocence like this case is.”
Geragos also questioned why the Osundairo brothers were not indicted alongside Smollett.
“I haven’t seen one piece of evidence, and they don’t have one piece of evidence that they’ve turned over that links Jussie to this. What they do have is a whale of a case. If you believe what the police chief is saying, they’ve got a great case against the two brothers,” Geragos said. “What do they have that corroborates this story? These are the two people that did it. What do they have besides their word that says he was in on this?”
Reporting by WBBM CBS Local in Chicago and the staff of the Los Angeles Blade.