The swift hammer of justice once again missed the nail in Illinois as all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped. Smollett was arrested in February on 16 felony counts for perpetrating a hate crime hoax and filing false reports to police.
It was a stunning decision because in most cases the minimum condition for dropping charges is some acceptance of responsibility. The Cook County prosecutors’ office did not elaborate.
A county prosecutor stated in court before asking for the dismissal, “We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
Not to be left out of the press coverage, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office sent an email declaring that it took into account Smollett’s great history of community service and felt this decision was the best outcome.
But not everyone was in a celebratory mood, specifically because Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson was not informed that charges were being dropped. Johnson is planning to speak publicly on the situation after the police academy graduation.
Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Chicago Tribune, “Everyone knows how the department feels.”
Smollett and his attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes released a statement, saying Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean,” and addressed members of the media outside a Chicago courtroom shortly after appearing in front of Judge Steven Watkins.
The statement further pointed an accusing finger at the media for their participation:
“This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
The remaining question to be answered is what will happen with the FBI probe into Smollett for federal mail fraud, which is ongoing.
Smollett became a household name when he alleged two white men, wearing red hats and yelling MAGA slurs, attacked him on a frigid January night in Jussie’s Chicago Streeterville neighborhood – not a place that straight white Trump supporters normally troll, hoping for Smollett to cross their path. Nor is the television show Empire on par with Monday NIght Football — a favorite of straight white men.
Smollett’s fishy story unraveled spectacularly in a matter of weeks as two of the actor’s friends, brothers from Nigeria, Obabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, were first detained and released after telling authorities that they were paid by Jussie to fake-attack him. And let’s face facts: Smollett had nary a bruise and only one small scratch on his pretty face. Had the massively muscled body-building brothers really attacked the actor, he would’ve stayed on the ground, broken and bleeding, unable to hoof it to his swanky hotel home with a laundry line around his neck and carrying a fancy phone and a Subway footlong.
The hate crime was not against Jussie. It was Jussie’s attack against people who are white supporters of President Trump.
Curious and Curiouser
Throughout the investigation Jussie claimed he was an innocent, as he rolled and wallowed in his victimhood, demanding that people believe him. He spoke on Good Morning America and tweeted like crazy about his boo-boo and that he was “strong” and had “faith.”
But when the Chicago PD sniffed out the details, Smollett told authorities he had “an unmanaged drug problem.” That random admission seemed to suggest he was thinking of a way to circumvent what was imminent: an exposure to filing a false report, wasting city resources, and sending the cops chasing their tails in every direction but true north.
The case was further complicated for police when Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx donned her muck boots and waded into controversial waters by asking Superintendent Johnson to turn the case over to the FBI. The request went through channels, starting with the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, who informed Foxx that Smollett’s family had concerns about the investigation.
The dismissing of charges is suspect. And to add a cherry on top of what appears to be a sweep-it-under-the-rug sundae, Judge Watkins also granted a motion to seal the case. Oh, and did I mention Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond money? For a guy who went a bit crazy in attempting to get a raise, that is a tad suspect.
No doubt Jussie will soon be back on Twitter, sending hateful messages about President Trump and railing against straight white people. But now that “the worst time of my life” he claims is over, time will tell if he will return to a career in entertainment or become a full-time mouthy activist with an ax to grind.