Jussie Smollett Case Ordered Unsealed by Judge

Jussie Smollett Leave Chicago Courthouse (Credit: Shutterstock)

A Chicago judge ruled Thursday to unseal the file in the criminal case against Jussie Smollett.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins made the decision after multiple media organizations, including The Associated Press,  requested that the file be made public.

Although the Empire actor’s lawyers argued that their client had “the right to be left alone,” Watkins disagreed, explaining that the television star forfeited that privilege when he spoke to the press after the 16 charges against him were dropped.

“[Smollett] voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail,” the judge wrote. “After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case.”

He continued: “On several occasions, attorneys for defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case. These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone.”

Read More: Jussie Smollett Speaks Out After Prosecutors Drop All Charges

Natalie Spears, an attorney representing media organizations that fought for the file to be unsealed, commended the judge’s decision, stating: “This is about transparency and trust in the system and we believe the public has a right to know what the government did and why.”

Smollett has consistently maintained that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in Chicago on Jan. 29.

The actor was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the night in question.

Read More: Brothers in Jussie Smollett Case File Lawsuit Calling Attack ‘Farce’

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dropped the criminal case against Smollett, a development his legal team applauded.

As for the criminal file, it will be released on June 3, Foxx’s office confirmed.

“State’s Attorney Foxx is pleased to be able to provide the public with even greater transparency in this matter than was previously possible because of the sealing order,” the office said in a statement.