Jussie Smollett isn’t totally in the clear as some might’ve thought.
Because on Friday, Cook County judge Michael Toomin appointed a special prosecutor to look into Chicago State Attorney Kim Foxx‘s decision to drop a 16-count indictment on the “Empire” actor. This was after he was accused of lying about being attacked.
Toomin said when Foxx removed herself from the case, she was in her legal right to do so. But she didn’t have proper authority to hand the case off to a top aide, which he called a huge error.
The judge also said the aide didn’t have the true authority of a prosecutor, so the case slipped through the cracks without the right person working it.
“Here, the ship of the State ventured from its protected harbor without the guiding hand of the captain,” he wrote. “There was no master on the bridge to guide the ship as it foundered through uncharted waters. And it ultimately lost its bearings.”
Toomin also said “unprecedented irregularities” of the Smollett case necessitated an independent counsel “to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
Once the case is reopened, the special prosecutor will be encouraged to see what possible crimes were committed by Smollett if any, and he’ll be charged all over again if something is found.
Sheila O’Brien, a former state appellate judge, who’s wanted a special prosecutor on the case for quite some time, seemed to be pleased at Toomin’s decision.
“We’ll get the truth, the whole truth, under oath, and that’s what this is about,” she told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Foxx has since commented on the judge’s decision as well and simply said she “respectfully” disagrees with his ruling.
The appointment of the independent counsel comes at the same time Smollett is being sued by the city of Chicago to get back the money that was spent investigating his attack claim.
His lawyers have also been sued for defamation by Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, who claim the actor paid them $3,500 to stage a phony attack.
On January 29, Smollett, who’s gay and Black, told police that he was beaten by two men in Chicago who yelled homophobic and racial epithets. He also claimed the individuals tied a noose around his neck and poured a liquid substance on him.
After being accused of lying about the assault and hit with a 16-count indictment, the charges were dropped, which caused outrage among many.
In early June, “Empire” creator Lee Daniels said Smollett would not be returning to the sixth and final season of the show.