The hits keep coming in the Jussie Smollett saga. A Chicago grand jury has pounded the allegedly truth-challenged actor with an impressive 16-counts of felony indictments. The Empire television star, who authorities claim initiated false hate crimes to garner attention and potentially a fatter salary, has successfully achieved one of his ill-thought-out goals – he is a person of interest in the minds of America. Just not for the reasons he intended.
The grand jury methodically outlined two separate sets of charges; one scrutinized Smollett’s original and allegedly fraudulent testimony to police, and the other deals with subsequent claims that the supposed attackers used racial and homophobic slurs, and draped a noose around his neck.
Local law enforcement believes that Smollett’s spin-off mini-series began when he sent a false hate mail letter with a white substance to himself. Apparently, the powers that be on set at Empire studios hurt Jussie’s feelings when they pooh-poohed the crudely made missive with cut out magazine letters and a cartoon hanging man of poor artistic quality.
Instead of happily cashing his hefty $65,000 per episode checks, Smollett appears to have thrown an epic tantrum. Doubling down on augmenting what he seems to perceive as an unfair wage, he paid two friends to fake assault him and yell “MAGA country” a couple of times in case there were witnesses. Normal-thinking people are stumped that Smollett created such a far-flung publicity stunt when asking for a raise might’ve been an easier path. But psychologists find this behavior prevalent in a charged environment – and Smollett was a President Trump hater beyond reason, blaming the man for every crisis du jour and gaining a lot of attention for his political Twitter tirades.
Dr. Eric Hickey, a forensic psychologist and dean of the California School of Forensic Studies for Alliant International University, claims “high-profile criminal cases with greater media coverage are ripe for false reports … they’re needy. It gives them a chance to be heard.”
Oh, they heard you Jussie.
Unintended Front-Page Consequences
If these alleged felonies were committed in another state – say, California – Smollett would already be out of cable news rotation and checked into celebrity rehab. But Illinois is a different animal when poorly executed hate hoaxes are concerned. The Land of Lincoln frowns severely on this kind of behavior, and making false reports to police officers is a felony within the state’s disorderly statute –punishable by up to three years in prison. The elements that make it a felony include “any kind of transmission to a peace officer reporting a crime without reasonable grounds.”
The charges falling under the disorderly statute carry a potential punitive sentence, ranging from one to three years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Multiply by 16 counts, and it has become a real threat to Smollett’s freedom. Or he could just get probation.
But that is just the state of Illinois – the feds may want a piece of the pie if they find the actor committed mail fraud. Punishment if convicted of sending yourself intimidating hate mail ranges from fines of up to $250,000, to prison time up to 20 years.
Get Out of Jail Free
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former celeb Rosie O’Donnell have deleted their tweets of support. Other mouthy liberals are acting (better than Jussie) as if those frigid winter weeks never happened at all – feigning total ignorance of the event. And, of course, Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are feeling the sting of their ill-timed “modern day lynching” rhetoric and their decision to make Smollett the poster boy for their federal anti-lynching bill.
There is little doubt that the drive-by media, sucked into reporting fake news that fit snuggly into an anti-conservative message, will stop covering the Smollett case. He is no longer useful. The most important question that remains unanswered is whether Jussie Smollett will pay for any of his crimes.
Even with 16 felony indictments, 20th Century Fox Television has only removed Smollett from two episodes of the popular drama. Perhaps Smollett is already setting the stage for his great escape from punishment – he has started the drumbeat with police, stating on record that he had an “untreated drug problem.” Yes, wait for the young man to head to rehab – the celebrity get out of jail free card.