Jussie Smollett suffered another blow in his attempt to have the criminal charges against him dropped on Friday, after being told that new charges against him do not violate his right against double jeopardy.
Smollett’s attorneys made the double jeopardy argument in February, after a special prosecutor secured a six-count indictment on charges alleging that the 37-year-old former Empire star lied to police about a racist and homophobic attack that authorities claim he staged himself.
The new case came months after the county’s state’s attorney’s office abruptly announced it was dropping its initial charges against Smollett, angering police officials and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
On Friday, Cook County Judge James Linn explained that the only way double jeopardy would apply is if Smollett was legally punished for what had happened to him.
He went on to determine that since the state’s attorney’s office agreed to drop charges without requiring Smollett to admit any wrongdoing – despite agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 (£8,000) bond – it did not add up to legal punishment.
“There was no trial in this case, there was no jury empaneled, no witnesses were sworn, no evidence was heard, no guilty pleas were ever entered… nothing like that ever happened,” Linn said, reported Fox News. “There was no adjudication of this case.”
Smollett has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing.