An Illinois judge on Thursday ordered “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s criminal case file unsealed, setting up the release of a wealth of information surrounding the controversial — and often confusing — case.
Cook County judge Steven G. Watkins’ decision came months after a dizzying set of events: First, Smollett alleged he’d been the victim of a hate crime; after an extensive investigation, Chicago cops arrested Smollett and accused him of faking the supposed attack; and then, Cook County prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges against Smollett and his case was sealed.
But not anymore — at least, soon.
When the state attorney asked whether the office could have more time to redact personal information from the files, Watkins advised prosecutors to “act as if the documents were never sealed in the first place.”
In January, Smollett made national headlines when he filed a police report alleging two masked men attacked him, put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him as he was walking home from a fast food eatery. Smollett, who is black and openly gay, said the masked men beat him, made racist and homophobic comments and yelled, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — before fleeing the scene.