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Smollett’s Attorney Claims Judge ‘Lunged’ At Her, Demands Mistrial
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 26: Actor Jussie Smollett after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. This morning in court it was announced that all charges were dropped against the actor. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

On Thursday, one of the attorneys defending Jussie Smollett claimed that the judge in the case, Judge James Linn, “lunged” at her in court, according to The New York Post. Smollett’s attorneys also asked the judge to declare a mistrial, which he denied.

“The odd fracas came in the midst of the defense’s cross-examination of Olabinjo Osundairo, who claims he was paid to help Smollett stage the hate crime, as attorney Tamara Walker grilled him about his alleged homophobia and past derogatory remarks toward suspected gay men,” The New York Post reported. “Osundairo, 30, had just acknowledged he used the word ‘fruity a**’ to refer to a man he suspected was gay and Walker asked if Smollett, who is openly gay, knew he’d said such things in the past.”

Chicago Tribune criminal courts reporter Megan Crepeau outlined what happened next, tweeting, “Judge Linn tries to hustle things along, saying Walker is getting into something ‘collateral.’ She asks for a sidebar, the jury is sent out of the room, and she asks for a mistrial — in part because of the ‘collateral’ comment.”

Crepeau continued, “Walker is also saying that Linn lunged at her during a sidebar: ‘You did physically lunge at me.’ Linn seems furious and is denying it outright.”

Fox News correspondent Matt Finn echoed, “Right now court is paused. Smollett attorney asked to compose herself. She claims judge lunged at her. Judge says he stood up.”

Crepeau added, “Chaos. Lots of cross-talk and people interrupting each other and high emotions. But essentially: Linn is denying the motion for a mistrial, is denying he lunged at anyone. … Linn is denying he made faces, denying he lunged at anyone, and definitely denying the motion for a mistrial. He was about to bring the jury back into the room but instead they’re taking a bit of a recess.”

Walker’s fellow defense attorney Heather Widell accused the judge of visibly “snarling” when he sustained an objection from the prosecution, claiming, “I’ve noticed snarls multiple times.”

In mid-October, Linn denied Smollett’s final attempt to get the charges against him dismissed after Smollett’s attorney, Nenye Uche, noted Smollett had already performed community service and paid $10,000 bond — referring to a sweetheart deal with Cook County prosecutors.

Linn “explained that the case was being handled by a special prosecutor who was appointed by a different judge and that he would not end that arrangement,” The Daily Wire noted, recalling:

In January 2019, Smollett claimed he was walking alone at night in Deep Blue Chicago during a polar vortex when two supporters of former President Donald Trump — who apparently happened to be carrying rope and bleach in the event they saw someone to attack that particular night — recognized him and brutally attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Smollett returned to a friend’s home and called the police, still wearing the noose that was apparently placed around his neck from his attackers.

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