Jussie Smollett, a professional liar of both the acting and criminal world, has escaped serving serious jail time despite recently being convicted of hiring two men to orchestrate a fake hate crime against himself. Chicago prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts made against the 36-year-old Empire star, including false statements and reports provided to law enforcement, refusing to show the real reasons for this withdrawal.
“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 is a just and appropriate resolution to the case,” wrote the State Attorney’s Office in a statement provided to ABC News. The specifics of these extenuating “circumstances” remain close to the chest as court records currently remain sealed.
Nevertheless, the decision was immediately condemned by the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel:
“Is there no decency to this man?” he smouldered during his press conference from earlier this month, as reported by CNN. “A grand jury saw the evidence (and) realized this was a hoax — a hoax on the city, a hoax on hate crimes, a hoax on people of good values who actually were empathetic at first. He used that empathy for only one reason — himself. This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice. A person using hate-crime laws, on the books to protect people who are minorities, and you turn around and use them to advance your career? How dare he? It’s just not right. It’s not right on any level.”
What convinced prosecutors to turn the other cheek? It appears the opposition was swayed by Smollett having logged just 18 hours of community service with a known civil and human rights organisation — the Jesse Jackson founded The Rainbow PUSH Coalition. According to TMZ’s discussion with an organisation representative, Smollett’s volunteering was only from the 23rd through 24th of March — which is almost a month after the offence took place. Smollett’s “community service” reportedly included mailroom duty, selling bookstore merchandise, media PR and organising a choir for the group’s events.
This was quite a big day, evidently. So much so it was able to wipe away almost 3 three years of mandatory felony imprisonment and 60 years of probation. Desperate to save face after this sudden victory, Smollett’s lawyer Patricia Brown Holmes doubled down on the hate-crime being real by explaining to reporters the $3,500 payment to his hired attackers, the Osundairo brothers, was merely “for nutrition and training” totally unrelated to the violent publicity stunt.
“They were his trainers,” pleaded Holmes and Smollett’s second lawyer, Tina Glandian, in a joint statement to Vice News. “Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public, causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.” This contradicts their statements made to the Associated Press who accused the brothers of lying about the attack altogether.
For context, the night in question involved Smollett being attacked by two men — accused of shouting “this is MAGA country” alongside several racist and homophobic slurs against Smollett’s identities — who supposedly beat him up, poured bleach over his body and tied a noose around his neck. It garnered mass media attention and sympathy for the attack as a hero of the divisive states of America. This, however, was just a sick marketing ploy.
After weeks of investigation, police were able to establish a link between the star, the brothers and their mutual work on the Empire television series. The brothers, both of which being black from Nigerian descent, were eventually released without charge. Smollett, on the other hand, seemed determined to establish the event as a hate crime, trying to balance the idea of being unable to identify any details about the masked suspects while being damn sure to mention one of them was white.
These inconvenient circumstances haven’t stopped Smollett from playing the victim. “I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since Day One,” the actor said before leaving the court building. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time, one of the worst in my life.” Now the time of justice was simply tossed aside for spending a day doing activism and being able to forfeit his $10,000 as a bond.
As admitted in a statement from Joseph Magats, the lead prosecutor on the case, Smollett’s charges “would not have been dropped without the bond forfeiture and the community service factor” in his recent record. “He was prosecuted. It may not have been the disposition that everybody thought would occur,” Magats continued. “He did do community service. He did forfeit $10,000. It’s a fair and just disposition in the case.”
The actor, who reportedly had no prior felonies and posed no immediate danger to civilians, was released only through playing the cards of a rich political activist who can afford his unearned redemption — a two-tiered form of liberty the poor rarely if ever get to see in their own days in court.