CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge is expected to rule Thursday whether to unseal any of the court documents in the Jussie Smollett case. The records were sealed after prosecutors dropped disorderly conduct charges against the “Empire” actor in March.
CBS 2 and other media outlets have asked Judge Steven Watkins to unseal the files, arguing Smollett’s arrest already made news worldwide, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the case has raised questions.
Smollett’s lawyers have argued state law entitles him to have the case file sealed after the charges were dismissed.
Foxx’s office also has requested that the court lift the seal on Smollett’s records, but only so that Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard can use the documents in his review of the case, not so the records would be made public.
Watkins is expected to rule on the request to unseal the file at a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.
Smollett was accused of staging his own racist and homophobic attack and filing a false police report. Just weeks after he was charged, Foxx’s office dismissed the case.
In addition to the inspector general’s review of Foxx’s handling of the case, a retired appeals court judge is seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the Smollett case.