Smollett’s Defense Team Accuses Seething Judge of ‘Snarling,’ ‘Lunging’ at Them
STOP SCARING THE LAWYERS
Just when it seemed as though actor Jussie Smollett’s fake hate crime trial couldn’t get any weirder, his defense team got into a heated argument with the presiding judge during a sidebar, accusing him of “lunging” and “snarling” at them. The confrontation kicked off as defense attorney Tamara Walker attempted to question star prosecution witness Olabinjo Osundairo, who testified earlier on Thursday that Smollett had paid him to “fake beat him up.” As Walker pressed Osundairo on homophobic language in his past tweets, Judge James Linn tried to expedite the line of inquiry, calling the subject “collateral.” Walker then asked for a sidebar.
After the jury had been sent out of the room, Walker requested a mistrial, in part over the word of the word "collateral" since, she said, demonstrating Ola's homophobia is central to their defense. She then remarked to the judge: “You did physically lunge at me.” A Chicago Tribune reporter, livetweeting the trial, noted that Linn seemed “furious.” Amid growing chaos, another member of the defense, Heather Widell, asked that the court record reflect that Linn had been making “snarling faces” from the bench. Linn denied lunging, snarling, and the request for a mistrial outright, saying, according to a Courthouse News Service reporter, “There’s no mistrial here… Frankly, I’m stunned.” He then ordered a brief recess.