WATCH: Records in Jussie Smollett case to be unsealed
When Jussie Smollett’s attorneys worked out the deal with the State’s Attorney’s office to have the charges against him dropped and then the terms and documents behind the case were sealed, they likely thought that the facts of the case and the evidence against him wouldn’t come out.
And then Smollett and the attorneys went on TV doing all they could to spin the case, still claiming he was innocent.
Now, they’re being hoisted on their own petard when media sued to have the records unsealed and the attorneys argued Smollett had a right to privacy.
The judge in the case has now ruled to unseal the records.
From Fox 32:
In his order for the file to be unsealed, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins said Smollett’s actions before and after his case was dismissed did not appear to be those of someone seeking to maintain his privacy. Smollett’s lawyers had argued that since the charges were dropped, the actor had “the right to be left alone.”
Watkins’ decision, which followed requests by FOX 32 and other media organizations to make the file public, said there were good arguments for keeping the file sealed but that Smollett forfeited his right to protect his privacy by talking to the media. [….]
The judge on Thursday wrote that Smollett “voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail. After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case. On several occasions, attorneys for Defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case.”
The judge added, “These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone.”
Gotta love it.
Bet the attorneys are now rethinking that strategy.
Now all the evidence the police have is likely to come out. And we may see more about how the State’s Attorney’s office came to this decision.
According to ABC 7, nearly 300 pages of court filings and more records and evidence are expected to be released next week.
In another stunning move reported in the case today, former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen refused a subpoena from Judge Sheila O’Brien to appear at a hearing on May 31, explain her part in intervening in the case on behalf of a Smollett family member and turn over any documents, emails, texts or recordings having to do with the case.
One has to wonder why Tchen is trying to avoid testimony or turning over her records.