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In a statement, Special Prosecutor Dan K. Webb said, "Today's decision is a validation of Winston & Strawn's tireless work on this matter and a resounding victory for justice. We are proud to have prevailed in a case that, we believe, can help restore the public's confidence in the Cook County justice system."
When Judge Michael B. Toomin appointed Webb as Special Prosecutor in the Smollett case, Winston & Strawn LLP decided to take on the case pro bono with no compensation to the firm. The firm believed it was an opportunity to give back to a community whose faith in the local justice system had been shaken by how poorly the Cook County State's Attorney's Office (CCSAO) had first handled the Smollett matter.
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Webb and his team devoted over 4 years and more than 15,000 hours examining the original Smollett investigation and bringing renewed charges against him which yielded a conviction on five counts of felony disorderly conduct at the trial level.
The appellate court noted that Mr. Smollett 'challenge[d] virtually every aspect of' the prosecution but rejected each one of those challenges. The court also concluded that there was 'no ambiguity' as to what occurred between Mr. Smollett and CCSAO which only agreed to nol-pros (non-prosecution agreement)the charges against him; thus reprosecuting him was not fundamentally unfair according to Illinois law.
Webb expressed his gratitude towards Deputy Special Prosecutors Sean G Wieber and Samuel Mendenhall for their dedication and efforts over these years which led to this result; he hopes this decision will reassure people that our legal system is fair, just, and impartial.
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