Actor Jussie Smollett and his team of muscle made a grand, if belated and slightly brutal, entrance to a Chicago courthouse on Thursday for a hearing on his sentence for faking a “hate crime.”
In December, Smollett was found guilty on five counts of disorderly conduct for reporting to police that he was the victim of a “hate crime” in January 2019. Smollett, who is black and gay, claimed that he was assaulted by two men who shouted racist and anti-gay comments.
The media, which ate up Smollett’s allegations when they were first made, turned out in force to cover the disgraced actor’s first public appearance since the trial.
In one video posted to social media, Smollett is seen walking toward the courthouse through the media scrum. Newsweek’s Jackie Winchester reported that he showed up about 10 minutes late.
#JussieSmollett just arrived at the courthouse in Chicago ahead of his sentencing hearing.
One of his security guards pushed a cameraman to the ground as they tried making their way through the media.#Jussie #Smollett @Reuters @ReutersLegal pic.twitter.com/ey7bslE1nP
— Eric Cox (@EricCoxTV) March 10, 2022
Bodyguards led the way, pushing here and cajoling there.
“Make a hole, make a hole,” one said. Another asked the crowd to “give us space, please.”
Then push started coming to shove.
“Hey, don’t shove me, man,” someone said.
“You just knocked a man over!” one person said.
A man with a camera can be seen on the ground in the video. Another man helped him up as the Smollett entourage moved forward without missing a step.
One more bout of pushing and shoving came as the group neared the door.
Once inside, the hearing was contentious, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Defense attorney Tina Glandian wanted Judge James Linn to order a new trial.
Glandian said the defense did not get to ask the questions it wanted during jury selection.
That drew a scathing riposte from the judge.
“You wanted me to ask the [potential jurors] ‘what kind of animal would you like to be?’” Linn said. “Or, ‘Superman or Batman, what do you prefer?’ You really think I was supposed to ask [that]?”