Jussie Smollett Fails to Keep Criminal File Under Wrap, Judge Orders Unsealment
WENN/Brian To

On the reason behind the May 23 ruling, Cook County Judge Steven Watkins explains that the 'Empire' actor hadn't 'shown good cause to rebut the public presumption of access.'

AceShowbiz - A judge in Chicago, Illinois has agreed to unseal Jussie Smollett's criminal file, two months after prosecutors decided to drop disorderly conduct charges against the actor.

The "Empire" star had pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts after he was accused of lying to police about being assaulted by racists outside his city apartment on 29 January.

The case was expected to go to trial, but in late March, the Cook County State's Attorney announced authorities would no longer be pursuing the charges.

At the time, Smollett's attorney insisted no deal had been made with prosecutors, but his legal team successfully had his file sealed to apparently keep certain details away from the media.

Officials from various news organisations challenged the ruling which would keep the case under wraps, with press representative Natalie Spears insisting there was little point continuing to keep the file secret because the news of Smollett's arrest was widely reported.

However, the actor's lawyers argued making it public would only make it more difficult for the 36-year-old to move on with his life.

Cook County Judge Steven Watkins issued his ruling on Thursday, May 23, declaring that Smollett hadn't "shown good cause to rebut the public presumption of access," according to local news station NBC Chicago.

The news comes as Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx faces calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate her handling of the high-profile case.

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