The City of Chicago officially filed a lawsuit against "Empire" star Jussie Smollett weeks ago; seeking to recoup the costs associated with his alleged hate crime hoax that occupied more than 24 police officers over a two-week period.
After weeks of wrangling, an IL judge Thursday chose to unseal the case file in the Jussie Smollett case.
When Smollett's numerous disorderly conduct charges were dropped, his records were sealed.
"Shortly after Mr. Smollett reported he was attacked, as a family friend, I contacted Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who I also know from prior work together". They better get their stories straight.
But Judge Steven Watkins held that those privacy rights had been trumped after Smollett and his attorneys went before the cameras to declare his innocence.
Smollett had been facing felony charges for allegedly staging a homophobic and racist attack in January.
Although the actor himself has sort of faded from the limelight since the case concluded - the show "Empire" will run for one more season, but Smollett's character will not return - the Smollett case exposed a series of freakish policies at work inside the Cook County State's Attorney's office. He added, "these are not the actions of a person seeking simply to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone". Jussie Smollett has insisted that he had "been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one".
Attorneys for Smollett, however, argued that he is entitled - like thousands of other defendants - to have his arrest records sealed or even expunged.
Watkins wrote that Smollett "voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail" and that on "several occasions, attorneys for defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case".
Watkins is expected to rule on the request to unseal the file at a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.
Investigators eventually alleged that Smollett filed a false police report and paid two brothers to help him orchestrate the attack in an attempt to get publicity and a pay hike from the producers of the Fox TV melodrama "Empire".
Foxx has faced fierce criticism over her office's abrupt dismissal of the charges, including calls for her resignation by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. But during a short and stunning hearing, the office of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges against Smollett, though his bail was forfeited.
In her petition, O'Brien highlighted how Foxx said she recused herself in the early stages of the investigation - only to claim later that it was not a recusal "in the legal sense" that would have required the entire office to withdraw from the prosecution.