The decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Tuesday to drop all 16 felony charges against actor and Obama friend Jussie Smollett blindsided Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent, and came as a shock to everyone following the case.
It also highlights an uncomfortable truth: That the United States is increasingly becoming a two-tiered justice system — one for the wealthy, powerful, or famous, and another for the rest of us.
Calling it a “whitewash of justice,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "You have a person using hate crime laws that are on the books" for self-promotion. "Is there no decency in this man?"
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters, “I think this city is owed an apology. If you want to say you're innocent of the situation, you take your day in court. ... I would never hide behind a brokered deal in secrecy. Period."
The state’s attorney released a statement giving the matter the appearance of a plea deal, but without the defendant actually pleading to anything:
"After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett's volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case."
Smollett, however, maintained his innocence of the alleged Jan. 29 hoax.
Calling himself a "man of faith" after the charges were dropped, he said, "I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day One." He added, "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."
Question 1: If he’s truly a “man of faith,” why did that faith suddenly stop short of presenting his case to a jury of his peers? Why did he feel the need to “hide behind a brokered deal in secrecy.”
Question 2: If he were incapable of doing “one drop of what [he was] accused of,” why did he forfeit his $10,000 bond and agree to perform community service? Those are the acts of someone guilty — not an innocent person.
Question 3: Looking at it from the prosecution’s perspective, if Smollett were innocent, why would the state’s attorney retain his $10,000 bond?
Chicago resident and former Barack Obama senior advisor David Axelrod expressed his rage Tuesday afternoon in a string of tweets.
He said in one, “here’s the lesson of this weird turn in the Smollett case: You can contrive a hate crime, make it a national news, get caught and — if you are a well-connected celebrity — get off for $10K and have your record expunged and files sealed.”
Smollett’s story sounded hinky from the start.
He claimed that he walked out to purchase a sandwich on one of the coldest early mornings of the decade. On that same frigid morning, two men cross his path who just happened to wear masks while carrying a noose and a bottle of bleach. They allegedly shouted “this is MAGA country,” beat him, doused him with the bleach, and placed the noose around his neck.
His attackers turned out to be Nigerian brothers who are both acquainted with the actor — one was an extra on “Empire” and the other was his personal trainer.
Even liberal Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show,” thought “the story just doesn’t make sense.”
He added, “Like, why are two Nigerian guys walking around in Chicago’s freezing weather and then shouting, ‘this is MAGA country!’ right?”
But justice may yet prevail.
Leading up to the apparent hoax, Smollett received a hate letter addressed to him at Fox’s “Empire” studio. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating the possibility that he mailed it to himself, suggesting federal mail fraud charges.
“The FBI and US Postal Inspection Service are continuing their probe into whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending a threatening [letter] to himself prior to the allegedly staged attack, according to a law enforcement official briefed,” reported Chicago ABC 7’s Rob Elgas.
In other news, celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested Monday for attempted extortion of $25 million from sportswear manufacturer Nike. If he’s half as clever as he claims to be, he may want to try moving his case to Chicago.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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