A month after being hit with sixteen felony counts related to what the Cook County prosecutors' office said was actor Jussie Smollett's conspiracy to fabricate a hate crime about an attack made by two men wearing MAGA hats, all charges were immediately dropped, Smollett's record expunged and the case sealed by a judge.
Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that charges alleging he lied to police about a racist and homophobic attack have been dropped.
Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men.
Among the questions that weren’t immediately answered was whether prosecutors still believe Smollett concocted the attack and whether there’s new evidence that altered their view of events. Typically, a minimum condition of dropping cases is some acceptance of responsibility. In a statement, the Cook County prosecutors’ office offered no detailed explanation.
“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,” the statement from spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.
Smollett had made a $10,000 bond payment to get out of jail after his arrest on the charges.
Police and prosecutors have said Smollett falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on “Empire” and to promote his career.
Smollett, who is black and gay, plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.
Smollett reported that he had been attacked on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.
Cook County and the Chicago PD were willing to put Smollett in prison for decades over this.
And then something happened to make all of this go away. I don't know what it was exactly, but I bet it has something to do with this announced earlier this month.
Reports of leaks about the Jussie Smollett case have prompted an internal investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
The department told CNN on Thursday that it had opened an investigation into alleged internal leaks.
"I would like to point out that a lot of the information out there was inaccurate and there were numerous agencies involved in this investigation," said Sergeant Rocco Alioto with the Chicago PD Office of Communications. "As a standard procedure when there are allegations of information being leaked, an internal investigation has been opened and we are also looking at our vulnerabilities."
Smollett reported to police in January that he had been attacked in Chicago in an incident that ended with a noose around his neck. Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime.
But after police arrested two men who were "persons of interest," police sources revealed that police suspected Smollett knew the men and had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett has denied that any involvement in orchestrating an attack.
This case went so far into the crapper for Chicago PD that the prosecutors dropped a case against a gay, black man who reported that Trump supporters assaulted him. They indicted him with dizzying speed and had accomplices and everything. Chicago Police went on national TV like Good Morning America to indict Smollett in the court of public opinion.
And then the case popped like a sop bubble and they tripped all over themselves making sure this case never happened.
There's a reason why, and I'm betting the Chicago PD did something so horrible that if it came out in the trial, it would have destroyed them. Not a plea bargain, not a public apology, but a sealed case. If this had been a celebrity payoff, then it would have been a plea bargain and community service or a suspended sentence/probation.
Whatever it was, it was so awful that it prevented a major police department from destroying a black man's life, something police have done with impunity for decades.
Something happened with this case.
I want to know what it was.