An attorney for Jussie Smollett is calling for a mistrial. The attorney claimed that the judge called their evidence “irrelevant” in front of the jury and also “physically lunged” at her.
As The Blast previously reported, Smollett has been indicted on six counts of filing a fraudulent police report after he claims he was attacked in a hate crime in 2020. However, new reports reveal that Smollett allegedly paid two of his close friend $3500 dollars to stage the attack so he could file a false report with the police.
The courtroom drama occurred during the cross-examination of Olabinjo Osundairo, 30, who claims that he was paid to stage the hate crime.
Attorney Tamara Walker had been asking Osundairo about his previous use of the term “fruity a—” to describe a gay man, seemingly in an effort to show a motive against Smollett’s sexual orientation in the alleged hate crime.
However, the judge called the question “collateral” in front of the jury, which meant that it did not have any relevance to the case at hand.
Smollett’s Attorney Claims That The Judge ‘Physically Lunged’ At Her
Walker called a sidebar, which meant that the jury was excused from the courtroom at the time. During the sidebar, Walker claimed that Judge James Linn “physically lunged” at her after she requested a mistrial.
“When you said the word mistrial on these ground, frankly, I was stunned you’d even consider a mistrial on this,” Linn reportedly said. He added that he returned to his bench after the sidebar and did not lunge at Walker.
Walker left the courtroom. Onlookers say that Walker appeared “close to tears” as she left.
Attorney Heather Widell added that they had a legal right to try to determine bias and accused the judge of “snarling” any time he sustained an objection from the prosecution. Widell claims that these non-verbal cues were done in front of the jury, which could create bias within a jury.
Legal Analyst Sees Both Sides Of The Issue: Should There Be A Mistrial?
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says that this is the first time he has seen an attorney accuse a judge of lunging and snarling. However, he says that it will not affect the outcome of the case because the jury was not present in the room at the time the alleged lunging occurred.
He also commented on the request for a mistrial based on the judge shutting down their line of questioning.
He said that he thought it was a legitimate request because the prosecutors were trying to say “a good part of our defense has to do with whether or not the brothers did not like gay people, and certainly, if they think that’s the largest part of their defense and the judge isn’t letting them get into that, then that’s a big problem.”
He continued, “However, I also think that it’s legitimate for the judge to deny the mistrial because that’s not the issue in this case, whether or not they like or dislike gay people. The issue is, was this staged or was this real, and that’s the bottom line.”