TMZ reports Smollett asked a Chicago judge on Friday to reverse the verdict and find him not guilty of staging a hate crime. Smollett claims his constitutional rights were violated after his legal team was blocked from participating in the jury selection process. The Empire actor’s defense team also alleges that prosecutors showed a pattern of racism in selecting jurors, as well as pressuring witnesses to give false testimony.
Back in December, Smollett was found guilty of felony disorderly conduct for staging a fake hate crime in 2019 and making false reports to police.
Smollett was ultimately charged with six counts of disorderly conduct (Class 4 felonies) for allegedly lying to police. The jury convicted him of five of those counts, and acquitted him on the sixth. The first five were in connection to the statements he gave to authorities on the day of the alleged attack, while the last one pertained to statements he provided a couple of weeks later.
The 39-year-old actor was arrested in February 2019 after Chicago police suspected that he orchestrated a hate crime in an effort to advance his career and secure more compensation for his role on Empire. The actor was then charged for allegedly falsifying a police report regarding his claim that he was brutally attacked by two masked Trump supporters who targeted him for being a black, openly gay man.