*A defense attorney for Jussie Smollett called for a mistrial Thursday and accused the judge presiding over the case of lunging at her during a sidebar.
“Judge, you physically moved towards me,” Tamara Walker told Cook County Judge James Linn during the trial Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The incident occurred during a sidebar when the defense asked Linn for a mistrial after he described the cross-examination as “collateral.”
“As soon as I made the motion, Judge Linn reacted with shock and seemed to become upset, and at that moment had a reaction to physically move toward me with the upper portion of his body,” Walker told the Tribune.
Per the report, Judge Linn “had simply been extremely surprised at what attorneys requested during the sidebar, he said,” the outlet writes.
“I was in disbelief,” Walker told the Tribune. “… I did not expect that type of reaction (to) me doing my job.”
Judge Linn denied the accusations, and also denied the motion for a mistrial.
“What collateral meant in that context (was) we’re talking about things he said to other people,” the judge said from the bench. “There’s nothing for a mistrial here … frankly I’m stunned you’d consider a mistrial.”
“I’m stunned that you would consider a mistrial,” the judge said.
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller was also left stunned by the allegations against a judge.
“Never seen it happen,” Miller said. “This is a first even for me – I’ve been doing this a long time. But I’ve never seen an attorney accuse a judge of doing anything such as this attorney announced in court that occurred in Judge Linn.”
Miller said the jury was not present when the alleged incident occurred.
Another attorney for Smollett’s, Heather Widell, said the judge was making “snarling” faces when granting objections from prosecutors, according to the report.
Walker dismissed reports that she was crying as she made her argument.
“My voice cracked, but I did not cry about the incident,” she said. “I was in shock and disbelief, and my voice broke. I could not believe I was relating what occurred.”
Walker said the encounter with the judge highlights a long pattern of disrespect toward female attorneys in courtrooms.
“Throughout my 21 years of practice I have had experiences that my white male counterparts have not, including being mistaken for a court clerk, being mistaken for a defendant or member of the general public, being told to sit down when I came up to the clerk to check in for clients,” she said. “My experiences are not isolated; a number of female or Black women practitioners have experienced the same thing throughout our careers.”
We previously reported that the case is all about Smollett being accused of lying to Chicago police about being the victim of an attack in Jan. 2019.
At the time, Smollett said that two men yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, kicked him, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and told him, “This is MAGA country.” With the trial now underway, TMZ claims that the prosecution’s star witnesses, one of the Osundairo brothers (Abimbola Osundairo), may have a credibility issue after admitting to obtaining drugs for the star, but claims he didn’t sell them to the “Empire” star.
The brothers testified that Smollett paid them to stage a racist and homophobic attack against him.
Smollett is charged with lying to Chicago police and staging his own attack. In February 2020, he pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment that was revived by the special prosecutor. He continues to maintain his innocence.