AceShowbiz - Embattled actor Jussie Smollett has once again asked a Chicago court to dismiss charges against him.
Smollett, who was fired from Fox TV show "Empire" after being accused of staging a hate crime against himself in early 2019, has repeatedly maintained his innocence and, in a new motion filed by his legal team, argues his second indictment is invalid.
In the motion, filed on 9 September and released on Tuesday, September 22, Smollett's legal team argues the indictment was based on "illegal and incompetent evidence" gathered from Abel Osundairo and Ola Osundairo during the initial investigation into Smollett, which was later ruled invalid.
The Osundairo brothers have long claimed they were paid by the actor to stage a hate crime against him because he was unhappy with his salary on the show.
He was indicted on 16 felony counts in March, including one for allegedly filing a false police report.
While criminal charges for disorderly conduct related to the hoax report allegations were dropped, six new felony counts were filed in February, after the special prosecutor was appointed to re-investigate the case.
However, it turns out the grand jury relied on testimony transcripts taken from the Osundairo brothers on 20 February, 2019 - which was previously invalidated by Judge Michael Toomin, Smollett's lawyers argued.
"The OSP cannot have it both ways. It cannot convene a special grand jury based on Judge Toomin's Order but then rely on the transcripts from those 'void' proceedings to secure a new indictment," the motion states, reported the New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
"Based on the record available to the defense, the grand jurors were not aware that they could subpoena and question the Osundairo brothers instead of relying on their one-sided testimony presented by the OSP from proceedings which have been invalidated by the court," it adds.
"The OSP's failure to inform the special grand jury at the commencement of the proceedings, before each witness testified, and before a true bill was requested, misled the grand jury and deprived Mr. Smollett of his right to the due process of law.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 14 October.