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Smollett appeals to state Supreme Court in new legal volley against special prosecutor

Jussie Smollett’s legal team is seeking to have the appointment of the special prosecutor vacated and the indictment against him thrown out.

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett walks into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for a hearing, Monday morning, Feb. 24, 2020.
Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett walks into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse for a hearing, Monday morning, Feb. 24, 2020. A new indictment brought by Special Prosecutor Dan Webb charges Smollett with falsely reporting he was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack near his Streeterville apartment in January 2019.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who appeared in a Chicago courtroom this morning facing a new six-count indictment against him for allegedly faking a hate-crime attack in 2019, has pulled a new legal card out of his sleeve.

The actor’s legal team filed a motion Monday morning with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking an emergency stay of the criminal case against him as the court considers the lawyers’ request to vacate a Cook County Circuit Court order appointing a special prosecutor, attorney Dan. K. Webb, and to dismiss the indictment.

The attorneys are arguing that “the recent Smollett indictment wasn’t proper because the special prosecutor was appointed incorrectly,” said attorney William J. Quinlan, who filed the motion with co-counsel Tina Glandian.

In seeking the extraordinary remedy, the motion argues that the appointment was riddled with legal errors.

“The circumstances surrounding the initial case in 2019 did not reach the legal level warranting the appointment of a special prosecutor,” he said. “Under the terms of the law, in order to appoint a special prosecutor, the office (of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx) had to file a former recusal with the court . . . and that didn’t occur here,” Quinlan added.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin had previously denied Smollett’s effort to vacate the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Smollett was charged Feb. 11 with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the attack repeatedly.