Who knew that fame and $10,000 could buy you freedom from a crime? Well, ask Jussie Smollett the actor-singer of hit TV series Empire. He can tell you all about it.
Today in Chicago the actor-singer had his record of 16 felony counts wiped clean as a whistle. This is thanks to the Cook County Prosecutors’ office who made the decision, without contacting the Chicago Police Department or the mayor.
“it was not an exoneration”
After weeks of investigating an alleged hate crime that Smollett, 36, claimed he was a victim, the prosecutors decided not to charge him. Saying in a statement the actor’s crime did not cause anyone harm nor was he a threat to society. The statement also said the dismissal was a, “just disposition and appropriate resolution” but said it was not an exoneration.
According to FoxNews.com, Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats is quoted as telling a local TV station that prosecutors want to combat, ‘“violent crime, gun crime and the drivers of violence.”’ Magats said Smollett faced accountability by doing community service (at Jesse Jackson Rainbow Coalition) and forfeiting his $10,000 bond payment (though the cost of the city to investigate his claim far exceeded that amount). He added prosecutors “stand behind the investigation and the facts,” adding, “this was not an exoneration” of the television actor. He also acknowledged that he believed Smollett filed a false police report.
Smollett learned of his $10,000 freedom purchase Tuesday during an emergency meeting at the Cook County Courthouse in downtown Chicago. After the meeting, he and his attorney, Patricia Brown-Holmes, answered questions from reporters.
Brown-Holmes said Smollet was, “attacked by two people he was unable to identify.” [He] “was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator.” She chastised Chicago police for as she says asserting at the conclusion of their investigation that Smollett’s tale of being attacked by two Trump supporters had been a hoax. She said police needed to “investigate claims” before presuming suspects’ guilt and trying them in the press.
Claiming to be a man of faith Smollett said what he had gone through was, “one of the worst of my entire life.” He continued and said, “I’m a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn’t. Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
“whitewash of justice and sends a clear message”
After learning of the charges being dismissed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Superintendent of Police Eddie Johnson were visibly upset. The mayor called the dismissal of charges a “whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power you’ll be treated one way, other people will be treated another way.”
“he did this all in the name of self-promotion.”
The mayor continued saying, “Gay men and women who will come forward and one day say they were a victim of a hate crime now will be doubted. People of faith — Muslim or any other religious faith who will be a victim of hate crimes; people of also of all walks of life, of backgrounds, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, now this casts a shadow of whether they’re telling the truth, and he did this all in the name of self-promotion. And he used the laws of the hate crime legislation that all of us collectively over years have put on the books to stand up to be the values that embody what we believe in.”
“They wanted their day in court”
The Chicago Tribune quoted Johnson as saying, “I’ve heard that they [Smollett and legal team] wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth. And now they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”
Johnson added, “My job as a police officer is to investigate an incident, gather evidence, gather the facts and present them to the state’s attorney. That’s what we did. I stand behind the detectives’ investigation…at the end of the day it was Smollett who committed this hoax.”
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham has alleged that Kim Foxx Chicago’s attorney general had illegally interfered with the investigation into Smollett’s alleged crime. Graham reportedly wrote to the Justice Department to investigate whether Foxx herself broke any laws related to the probe.
In February, Smollett was said to have been the victim of a hate crime in ultra-liberal Chicago. His perpetrators were allegedly two white men wearing black masks and red MAGA hats. The two men were said to have called him out, saying “Hey, there’s that Empire f****t!” They were supposedly shouting racial and homophobic epithets at him as they beat him.
After an extensive investigation, the Chicago Police Department concluded that Smollett staged the entire attack. A grand jury indicted him and he was arrested and released on bond all the while maintaining his innocence.
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