Jussie Smollett case unsealed by judge - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Jussie Smollett case unsealed by judge

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CHICAGO (WSIL) -- A judge in Chicago has ordered the file in the Jussie Smollett criminal case unsealed.
  
Cook County Judge Steven Watkins said Thursday that while there are good arguments in favor of keeping the file sealed, the "Empire" actor forfeited his rights to keep the case sealed to protect his privacy by talking to the media before and after prosecutors dismissed the charges against him.

"Good cause does not exist to keep the records of this case sealed," Cook County Circuit Judge Steven Watkins wrote.

Cook County prosecutors will release the documents in the case by June 3, according to a statement from State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he'd been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Police insist the actor, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity.

A Cook County grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts, but on March 26, prosecutors unexpectedly dropped the charges against the 36-year-old "Empire" actor. The lead prosecutor said they reviewed facts and considered Smollett's volunteer service in the community as well as his willingness to forfeit his $10,000 bond.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the decision.

The criminal case was dismissed March 26. Smollett wanted the case sealed, saying that he had "the right to be left alone".

Smollett's publicist, Hilary Rosen, declined to comment on the ruling.

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