Longtime U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois was still settling into private practice late last year when he landed a high-profile client: the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, which is being investigated over the prosecution of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.

The Akerman partner is one of a handful prominent lawyers who have been pulled into the messy legal saga, in which prosecutors dropped felony disorderly conduct charges against the actor after he allegedly paid two men to stage a hate crime attack against him and filed a false police report.

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