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Jussie Smollett's criminal case will go to trial

The former "Empire" actor is accused of lying to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime in 2019.
/ Source: NBC News

Actor Jussie Smollett's last-ditch effort to have a judge dismiss his criminal case related to allegations he lied to police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime was denied.

An attorney for the former "Empire" actor said Smollett's rights were being violated since he had already performed community service and forfeited a $10,000 bond under a previous deal to drop charges in Cook County.

"A deal is a deal. That’s ancient principle," attorney Nenye Uche said in court on Friday.

But judge James Linn said Smollett's case is now was being led by a special prosecutor appointed by another judge and he would not upset that arrangement. In February of 2019, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly making a false report to Chicago police.

Jussie Smollett on March 26, 2019.Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images

In January 2019, he told officers that he had been attacked by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him and wrapped a rope around his neck in the upscale neighborhood of Streeterville.

Police initially investigated it as an alleged hate crime, but were unable to find any video evidence of the incident. After speaking with two persons of interest, brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, authorities shifted the investigation into whether Smollett paid the brothers to stage an assault.

According to former Chicago police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson, Smollett staged the attack on himself in order to "promote his career" and paid the Osundairo brothers $3,500 to help him orchestrate it.

A lawyer for the brothers previously said they "have tremendous regret over their involvement in this situation."

"They understand how it has impacted people across the nation, particularly minority communities and especially those who have been victims of hate crimes themselves," the lawyer said.

A grand jury indicted Smollett in March 2019 of disorderly conduct for making a false report but all charges were unexpectedly dropped just weeks later, sparking outrage. The case, however, was revived by the special prosecutor and Smollett was again charged with disorderly conduct.

The actor, who is Black and gay, has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

His attorney previously tried to have the case dismissed, but said Smollett wants "nothing more than to go to a jury and clear his name."

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