Jussie Smollett isn't necessarily in the clear despite having all charges against him dropped by the Cook County State's Attorney's office after he was accused of staging a racist, anti-gay attack on himself.
That's because a judge on Friday ruled in favor of assigning a special prosecutor in the case that has gripped Chicago for nearly all of 2019.
In a scathing ruling, Judge Michael Toomin said he was in favor of a special prosecutor being appointed in the case, which he said presented "unprecedented irregularities" and was "truly unique among the countless prosecutions heard."
Smollett was accused of falsely reporting what police say was a staged racist and anti-gay attack on himself in January in Chicago. The charges were dropped in March.
Toomin's ruling state's that a special prosecutor will "conduct an independent investigation of the actions of any person or office involved in all aspects of the case." It notes that "if reasonable grounds exist to further prosecutor Smollett in the interest of justice the special prosecutor may take such action."
Attorneys and the judge noted that in Smollett's case, double jeopardy doesn't apply because he was never prosecuted.
The judge indicated in court that Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx did not have the authority to assign First Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats to prosecute the case following her recusal.
"In any event, I respectfully disagree with the court's conclusion that, in the absence of any conflict, the appointment of a special prosecutor is required," Foxx said in a statement, adding, "As always, I remain committed to transparency, justice, and the public safety of the communities we serve."
When reached for comment, Smollett's attorney's did not immediately respond.