BREAKING NEWS

Jussie Smollett Makes Rare Outing In NYC For Birthday Bash After Requesting New Trial Following Guilty Verdict

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Mar. 2 2022, Published 1:13 p.m. ET

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Jussie Smollett is out of hiding and back in town.

The Empire star was seen attending singing/acting legend Harry Belafonte's 95th birthday party. The rare sighting comes after Smollett filed a request for a new trial after being found guilty of falsely reporting a hate crime.

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Smollett was caught by the paparazzi entering The Town Hall in New York City Thursday night. The actor showed up at the shindig wearing a grey coat over a black turtleneck. He paired the look with blue slacks and black dress shoes.

Sporting a newly shaved head, Smollett was seen mingling with other guest and taking photos with fans at the event.

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The actor's legal team filed documents last week requesting a new trial unless the judge reverses the verdict.

His request comes two months after he was convicted on 5 of the 6 counts of felony disorderly conduct for staging and reporting his hoax hate crime to police.

Beyoncé's Mom Tina Knowles Believes Jussie Smollett's Sentence Shouldn't Be Harsh Given Kyle Rittenhouse's Verdict

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Smollett claimed he was attacked in 2019 near his Chicago apartment by two men who were yelling racist and homophobic slurs. The Empire star alleged they beat him up and put a noose around his neck.

Many, including the police, questioned the actor's story. Smollett has adamantly denied he made up the story.

Smollett has a number of reasons why he believes he should get a new trial. He claims his constitutional rights were violated after his legal team was allegedly blocked from participating in the juror selection process. Smollett believes a biased jury built off of the prosecution's "pattern of racism" is the main reason he was found guilty. The actor alleges that the juror pool was "tainted."

Jussie Smollett Juror Reveals They Knew Immediately He Was Guilty Of Staging Hate Crime, Said Actor Taking Witness Stand Didn't Help

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The guilty verdicts against him could land the actor up to three years in prison, but legal experts say it's "unlikely to get prison time for the low-level felonies and is more likely to be sentenced to probation and ordered to perform community service."

Smollett was also hit with a lawsuit by the City of Chicago. The city wants to recoup over $130,000 spent on investigating the alleged hate crime.

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A special prosecutor released a report claiming that Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx repeatedly misled the public about her office's handling of the Smollett case — though they specified that Foxx and others in her office did nothing "criminal."

The judge even released a 68-page confidential report detailing missteps and multiple instances of false statements made by Foxx and her prosecutors believing it should be made public.

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