Double-jeopardy claim for Jussie Smollett could hark back to landmark case against mob hit man

Megan Crepeau And Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

"There's a lot of angles (the defense) can play, I just don't think any of them are going to pan out," Galhotra said.

Smollett is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 24 at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Meanwhile, his attorneys have steadfastly maintained his innocence, and last year rebuffed attempts to negotiate a formal plea. If they couldn't get a full dismissal, they told the Tribune last year, they would take the case all the way to trial.

If they maintain that position, both sides are in for an extensive fight over the actual evidence. And Smollett's attorneys have already laid out much of their case in public, largely by attacking the credibility and motivations of two key prosecution witnesses, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo.

The brothers told police and a grand jury that Smollett paid them to stage the attack.

The actor's attorneys have argued in previous filings that the brothers' story was just a frame-up to avoid culpability for their actual attack on Smollett.

But those arguments will only play out in a courtroom if the defense fails in its attempts to toss out the new case altogether. And as the Aleman case showed, claiming a double-jeopardy violation likely won't do the trick.


After Toomin's ruling in 1994, then-Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley said double-jeopardy was "amongst the most recognized, yet most commonly misunderstood, doctrines in our law."

"Everyone thinks they know what double jeopardy is, and very few people do," he said.

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