(SNews) – Disgraced Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett is demanding a retrial after being convicted of staging an anti-Trump “hate crime” hoax.
Smollett’s lawyers filed court documents seeking a retrial in his conviction for orchestrating the fake hate crime attack that blamed supporters of President Donald Trump.
The court found that Smollett had faked the incident in an effort to gain media attention and advance his own failing career.
Smollett’s lawyers are arguing in the Illinois First District Appellate Court that the trial judge was prejudiced against them.
They claim Judge James Linn sandbagged their work during cross-examination, and let prosecutors strike a disproportionate amount of potential black jurors and a gay juror.
His lawyers also make the shocking allegation that Linn went too far at sentencing, claiming he took “on a personal retributive tone, based on speculative information.”
The filing says:
“From the very start of the circuit court’s order granting the appointment of a special prosecutor, Judge Toomin explicitly, unequivocally, and improperly set forth an opinion that Mr. Smollett was, in fact, guilty of charges which a) Mr. Smollett specifically pled not guilty to, and b) which, at the time of the appointment, had been duly dismissed.
“More importantly, Illinois courts have repeatedly held that a police department or other government agency is not considered a ‘victim’ within the meaning of the restitution statute.
“Mr. Smollett’s Constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial were denied by prosecutorial misconduct including allegations that a defense witness was pressured to change his statement, two distinct Doyle violations during trial, and shifting the burden during closing arguments.
“A prosecutor may be considered to have shifted the burden of proof by suggesting to the jury that the defendant was obligated to present evidence at trial.
“Here, in rebuttal closing arguments, the prosecutor argued, ‘Mr. Uche gave you no evidence of any video that was missing’ (R3226).
“This comment is the equivalent to asking ‘where’s the evidence.’
“By arguing to the jury that the counsel for the defendant failed to prove a fact or produce evidence that defendant had absolutely no burden to prove, the prosecutor implied that Mr. Smollett was required to prove his own innocence.
“That implication alone is sufficient to result in substantial prejudice to the defendant,” the filing says.
“The second instance occurred when the Prosecution asked Abimbola Osundairo if Defendant ‘ever made a statement to the public where he admitted that the hate crime was a hoax,’” the lawyers added.
“Again, Illinois Courts have held that a prosecutor’s line of questioning suggesting that ‘defendant’s trial testimony was fabricated because he could have told the police officers the same story during the investigation but did not’ was specifically improper.
“This can be particularly where a defendant’s credibility is integral to his defense, as was the case here,” Smollett’s legal team argues.
“In fact, even the trial court sustaining an objection and giving instructions to the jury does not cure and thus still constitutes reversible error.”