Michelle Carter will begin serving her 15-month jail term on Monday, a year and a half after she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for urging her 18-year-old boyfriend — through text messages and phone calls — to kill himself.
A Massachusetts trial judge on Monday ruled that Carter, 22, will begin serving her sentence hours after the state’s highest court — the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) — denied her lawyer’s motion to extend the stay on her sentence.
Carter — who was present at the Bristol County Juvenile Court — was taken into custody immediately after Judge Lawrence Moniz allowed the prosecution’s motion to revoke the stay on her jail sentence.
Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail in June 2017, after she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for Conrad Roy’s suicide death. However, Moniz had allowed her to remain free until she finished her appeals in state court.
Last week, the SJC refused to overturn her conviction, ruling that the evidence against Carter proved that “by her wanton or reckless conduct she caused the victim’s death by suicide.”
Carter’s attorneys filed an emergency motion on Monday morning, asking the SJC to extend the stay on her jail sentence, pending their anticipated appeal to the US Supreme Court to review her case. The SJC denied the motion to stay her sentence.
Brothers At Center of Alleged Attack Sue Jussie Smollett’s Lawyers, Claiming Defamation
CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers who say they helped Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack against himself sued the “Empire” actor’s attorneys on Tuesday, accusing them of defamation by continuing to insist publicly that the brothers carried out a real, bigoted attack on Smollett despite knowing that was untrue.
Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo said in a joint statement issued after their lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago that Smollett’s legal team has spread false accusations that have hurt their reputations and undermined their career prospects.
“We have sat back and watched lie after lie being fabricated about us in the media only so one big lie can continue to have life,” they said. “These lies are destroying our character and reputation in our personal and professional lives.”
In their lawsuit, the Osundairos contend that even after prosecutors dropped the charges against Smollett while simultaneously saying they could prove the attack was a hoax, Smollett’s attorneys kept saying in interviews that the Chicago-born brothers “led a criminally homophobic, racist and violent attack against Mr. Smollett.”
“Mr. Smollett’s attorneys, faced with an outraged public, did not retreat after their success (in getting charges dropped). Instead, they doubled down,” states the lawsuit, which names celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, fellow lawyer Tina Glandian and Geragos’ Los Angeles-based law firm as defendants.
In a joint statement, Geragos and Glandian called the lawsuit “ridiculous” and “a desperate attempt” by the brothers “to stay relevant and further profit from an attack they admit they perpetrated.”
“We look forward to exposing the fraud the Osundairo brothers and their attorneys have committed on the public,” they added.
The odds may be against the brothers prevailing in court.
Legal experts say that, in the U.S. adversarial system, attorneys are accorded broad protections from lawsuits based on things they say while defending their clients — even if what they say is mean-spirited or false.
“If my client informs me he didn’t do it and I say that publicly … that’s part of our job as lawyers,” said Jeffrey Granich, a Chicago attorney not connected to the Smollett case. At the same time, Granich said he understood the brothers’ frustration and desire to show they are telling the truth.
Smollett, who is black and gay, has stood by his account that he was attacked in downtown Chicago early on Jan. 29 by two masked men who beat him, shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, and looped a rope around his neck. He said his attackers also shouted slogans supporting President Donald Trump.
At a Tuesday news conference, the brothers’ lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, said the Osundairos regret their involvement with Smollett and decided to tell the truth when confronted by investigators in mid-February.
“We’re going to make sure that the lies and malice attacking our city, our police department and my two clients are met with truth and healing,” she told reporters. The brothers did not attend the news conference.
Prosecutors have said that Smollett’s friendship with Abimbola Osundairo dated back several years and that Osundairo had served as a stand-in for a character named “Kai” on “Empire.” Ola Osundairo also appeared as an extra on the show, prosecutors said.
In their lawsuit, the Osundairos say the defamation by Smollett’s lawyers has caused the brothers “significant emotional distress” and made them feel unsafe and alienated from the local community. It doesn’t specify an amount of money they are seeking, but says it would be more than $75,000 in compensatory and damages, and other costs.
The Osundairo brothers, who are of Nigerian descent, testified before a grand jury days before Smollett was charged, saying Smollett paid them $3,500 to help stage the attack. They contend in their suit that Smollett took advantage of the their aspirations to have TV and movie careers.
“Mr. Smollett used his clout as a wealthy actor to influence Plaintiffs, who were in a subordinate relationship to him and were aspiring to ‘make it’ in Hollywood,” the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit also states that Glandian “inferred” during an interview on the podcast Reasonable Doubt this month that Abimbola Osundairo “engaged, at least briefly, in homosexual acts” with Smollett. The filing says that’s false, that Osundairo is heterosexual and to say otherwise could put him and his family in danger in Nigeria.
“Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria, which can result in 14 years of imprisonment,” the lawsuit asserts. “If the accused is married, the punishment is death by stoning.”
In the weeks after the alleged attack, police arrested the Osundairo brothers on suspicion of assaulting Smollett but released them without charges. A police spokesman said the two were no longer considered suspects and that investigators had new evidence after questioning them.
About a week after police questioned the brothers, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct and accused of making a false police report about the attack. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped the charges in March, angering the police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said Smollett had dragged Chicago’s name “through the mud” and that the decision to drop the charges was “a whitewash of justice.”
The city has since sued Smollett, seeking repayment for the costs of investigating the case.
Neo-Nazi Holden Matthews Faces Prosecutors
OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — The white man charged in the burnings of three Louisiana black churches faces a mountain of evidence tying him to the crimes, documenting the fires on his cellphone and an interest in arson on Facebook, the state fire marshal said Monday at a hearing that offered new insight into how officials tracked their suspect.
Holden Matthews bought a gas can and oil rags similar to those found at the site of the fires, he recorded a conversation with a friend in which he talked about using gasoline to burn churches, and his cellphone held images of the fires before law enforcement even arrived to the blazes, Louisiana Fire Marshal Butch Browning testified at Matthews’ bond hearing.
The 21-year-old Matthews – the son of a sheriff’s deputy – entered a not guilty plea Monday via video conference from the St. Landry Parish jail, as prosecutors added new charges declaring the arsons a hate crime.
“There is a substantial amount of evidence, it appears,” state District Judge James Doherty said before denying Matthews’ bond request, keeping him in jail.
In his testimony for prosecutors, Browning outlined a litany of evidence that he said tied Matthews to the torching of the three black churches over 10 days.
The fire marshal described cellphone records placing Matthews at the fire locations. On his phone, Browning said, Matthews had images of the church fires in the early stages and the destruction days after the churches were set ablaze, in addition to copies of news reports about the fires.
“He actually superimposed himself on those news reports, claiming responsibility for these fires,” Browning said.
Video surveillance near the churches showed a truck similar to the one Matthews drives, Browning said. Matthews also exchanged text messages with a friend who asked about the fires: “Was that your work?” the fire marshal said.
In addition, Browning said Matthews posted on Facebook about and showed interest in a movie called “Lords of Chaos,” which Browning said is a recent Norwegian film that involved church burnings.
“The evidence we have was unequivocal,” Browning said. Later he added: “He has clearly demonstrated the characteristics of a pathological fire setter.”
The fires, all started with gasoline, occurred in and around Opelousas, about 60 miles west of Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge.
The first blaze happened at the St. Mary Baptist Church on March 26 in Port Barre, a town just outside of Opelousas. Days later, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were burned. Each was more than 100 years old.
Matthews, who had no previous criminal record, was arrested Wednesday on three charges of arson of a religious building. Prosecutors filed documents Monday adding three more charges, accusing Matthews of violating Louisiana’s hate crime law, a link authorities had previously stopped short of making.
Browning said federal officials also are considering filing additional federal hate crime and arson charges against Matthews.
The churches were empty at the time, and no one was injured. But at one location, two occupants of a nearby home had to evacuate when the siding on the home started to catch fire from the church.
The fires set the community on edge. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the church burnings were a reminder “of a very dark past of intimidation and fear.”
Matthews, shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, never spoke to the court during Monday’s hearing, letting his court-appointed lawyer enter the not guilty plea for him. His parents watched their son’s appearance on video conference from the courtroom, his dad repeatedly wringing his hands and, at one point, leaving the room in tears.
Matthews’ attorney Quincy Cawthorne questioned some of the evidence cited by Browning and said Matthews didn’t have the financial means to be a flight risk. He also objected to suggestions that the house near one of the churches was intentionally set on fire, putting the residents’ lives in danger.
A pretrial hearing in the case was set for July 17, with jury selection scheduled to begin in the trial on Sept. 10.
City of Chicago Sues Actor Jussie Smollett For Costs Of Investigating His False Report
The city of Chicago’s Law Department has filed Thursday a civil complaint against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett under the city’s false statements ordinance.
Smollett has refused to pay more than $130,000 to reimburse Chicago investigative costs and the city said last week it will sue him for the money as reimbursement for investigating what officials say was phony racist, anti-gay attack that Smollett staged.
“This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019,” the city said Thursday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s law chief sent Smollett a March 28 letter demanding he pay $130,106 — plus 15 cents — within seven days.
The City Law Department said in a statement last week that Smollett had refused to pay, adding that it was already drafting a lawsuit in response and would file it “in the near future.”
“In reality, Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself,” the complaint reads. “Later, when police confronted him with evidence about his attackers, he still refused to disclose his involvement in planning the attack.”
The complaint also says Smollett told one of the Osundairo brothers, the initial persons of interest, before the alleged attack “he was unhappy with the way his employers handled the racist and homophobic letter he had allegedly received and as a result wanted to stage an attack.”
According to the complaint, Smollett texted one of the brothers that his flight was delayed and the attack needed to postponed.
The complain also says Smollett positively ID’d his attackers in a still image during an interview with Good Morning America, but had previously told police he could not identify them.
“At no point did Defendant inform police that he knew his attackers or recognized their appearance or voices,” the complaint reads.
But Smollett “made further false statements claiming his only relationship with the Brothers was as trainers and acquaintances and that they could not have been his attackers,” the complaint reads.
(Reporting by NBCDFW)
Read the newly-filed lawsuit against Jussie Smollett below:
News3 months ago
Incident Involving Motorcade,Injuries Reported
News3 months ago
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Refuses To Resign After Blackface/KKK Controversy And Outcry
News3 months ago
All-Clear Issued At Central Washington University After Initial Reports Of Active Shooter
Terrorism1 month ago
50 Killed, 50 Injured At Mosques In ‘One Of New Zealand’s Darkest Days’
News3 months ago
Virginia Senate Majority Leader Revealed As Editor Of Virginia Military Institute Yearbook During Blackface Controversies
News3 months ago
Steve Bannon, Former Trump Campaign Executive, Implicated In Mueller Indictment of Roger Stone
Terrorism1 month ago
49 Killed In Christchurch, New Zealand Mosque Terror Attacks, Suspect Charged
News3 months ago
‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Hospitalized In Alleged Racist/Homophobic Hate Crime