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A judge in Chicago on Thursday unsealed Jussie Smollett’s court records after media organizations asked that documents related to the “Empire” actor’s arrest be made publicly accessible.
The decision to unseal the case could allow public access to documents from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office that could shed light on why the office suddenly dropped all charges against Mr. Smollett in March.
Mr. Smollett’s case captivated the American public earlier this year with one baffling twist after another. What started as mass outrage over a celebrity being targeted based on his race and sexual orientation turned into indignation at Mr. Smollett after the police concluded that he planned the attack himself in an effort to gain publicity. Mr. Smollett has maintained his innocence.
Chicago attorney Tina Tchen — who was in contact with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx before the charges were dropped against former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett — refused to be served with a subpoena on Wednesday, according to the process server.
Tchen, who previously served as former First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, refused to accept a subpoena that was issued by former Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien.
Edward Ryan, who operates a private investigation firm in the southwest suburbs, said one of his process servers went to Tchen’s law firm in River North on Wednesday, but she refused to come to the lobby to accept the subpoena.
Ryan said the security guard in the building’s lobby would not let the process server upstairs. The guard called Tchen in her office and “she said she knew about” the subpoena, but refused to come down.
“I don’t know why she’d turn it down. She’ll be served eventually,” Ryan said.