Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett got some very bad news on Thursday when an Illinois judge ordered his criminal case file unsealed, which means the public will now get to see all of the evidence against him.
Fox News reported that Cook County judge Steven G. Watkins ordered that the files be unsealed, and when the state attorney asked if they could have time to redact more personal information, the judge said, “act as if the documents were never sealed in the first place.”
“To be sure, it is easily conceivable that a defendant whose case was dismissed would wish to maintain his sense of privacy, even if, perhaps especially if, the media covered the case,” Watkins wrote in the decision. “However, that isn’t that case. While the court appreciates that the defendant was in the public eye before the events that precipitated this case, it was not necessary for him to address this so publicly and to such an extent. By doing so, the court cannot credit his privacy interest as good cause to keep the case records sealed.”
This comes months after Chicago prosecutors made the controversial decision to drop all charges against Smollett for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself. Back in January, the “Empire” actor had claimed that he was jumped by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him while also shouting “this is MAGA country.”
Smollett was later arrested for staging the whole thing and he was facing 48 years in prison before prosecutors suddenly dropped all charges against him. This infuriated the Chicago police as well as millions of Americans who felt that Smollett was guilty of the crime.
The decision to unseal all court documents, in this case, is a good one because it will allow us to see all of the evidence against Smollett. We will also have the chance to see just how outrageous the prosecutors’ decisions to let him off really were. It’s unfortunate that Smollett was able to dodge prison, but once these documents are released, he won’t be able to evade a conviction in the court of public opinion.