Jussie Smollett may not be back for the final season of Empire when the show returns this fall, but he’s still in the public eye. A new development related to his legal concerns will keep a public light shining on his case.
Today, Deadline reported that a judge unsealed documents related to the performer’s arrest on criminal charges that were filed earlier this year.
After facts supported that Smollett likely fabricated the attack on him, he was facing 16 indictments for his role in an attack on January 29th that he claimed was homophobic and racial in nature. Judge Steven Watkins feels that the paperwork related to Smollett’s case didn’t need to be kept private given how public Smollett has been.
“Smollett voluntarily appeared on national television speaking about the incident in detail,” said Watkins, a Cook County Circuit Court judge, said in his ruling. “After the March 26 dismissal, he voluntarily stood in front of cameras from numerous news organizations in the courthouse lobby and spoke about the case.
“These are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply be let alone,” Watkins continued.
At press time, there was no word from Smollett’s camp, per Deadline, whether or not Smollett would appeal the decision.
It remains to be seen whether or not Smollett will return to Empire to close out Jamal’s storyline (though he’s currently on his honeymoon and could just stay on an extended one) and help wrap the show up. Also undetermined is whether or not Smollett will face any civil legal action related to his case.
Empire returns for a sixth and final season later this year on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.