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The Latest: Judge: Actor didn’t appear to be seeking privacy

Jussie Smollett

CHICAGO – The Latest on a judge’s order unsealing the file from actor Jussie Smollett’s criminal case (all times local):

1 p.m.

A judge that ordered the file from Jussie Smollett’s criminal case unsealed says the actor’s actions did not appear to be those of someone seeking to maintain his privacy.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Steven Watkins said in his order Thursday that Smollett’s lawyers had argued that since the case was dismissed, Smollett had “the right t be left alone.”

Watkins wrote that Smollett “voluntarily appeared on national television for an interview speaking about the incident in detail” and that on “several occasions, attorneys for defendant, presumably with his authorization, appeared on various media outlets speaking about the case.”

Watkins added that “these are not the actions of a person seeking to maintain his privacy or simply to be let alone.”

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he’d been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Prosecutors dropped all charges.

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12 p.m.

A judge in Chicago has ordered the file in the Jussie Smollett criminal case unsealed.

Cook County Judge Steven Watkins said Thursday that while there are good arguments in favor of keeping the file sealed, the “Empire” actor forfeited his rights to keep the case sealed to protect his privacy by talking to the media before and after prosecutors dismissed the charges against him.

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts alleging he lied to police when reporting he’d been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January. Police insist the actor, who is black and gay, staged the attack because he was unhappy with his salary and wanted publicity.

Prosecutors dropped all charges with little explanation.

The criminal case was dismissed March 26. Smollett wanted the case sealed, saying that he had “the right to be left alone.”

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