This comes nearly a year after similar charges were abruptly dismissed by local prosecutors.
Glandian for the defense
The indictment caps a five-month special prosecutor’s probe. It accuses Smollett of making four separate false reports to Chicago police. The reports relate to his account of being the victim of a violent hate crime. Jussie Smollett is black and openly gay.
The accused’s lawyer, Tina Glandian, as one would expect, found fault. Ms. Glandian is critical of the use of police detectives who took part in the original investigation. She asserts it raises “serious questions about the integrity” of his prosecution. What else was she going to say? He did not do it?
Ms. Glandian asserts previous charges “were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence…” She continued arguing the attempt to prosecute Smollett anew month “… is clearly all about politics, not justice…” When you can’t argue the facts play the victim. The prosecution comes ahead of the Cook County state’s attorney primary election.
The report and the result
Smollett, 37, insists he told the truth in reporting the assualt on the street in January 2019. His report says by two men wearing masks threw a noose around his neck. They then pour chemicals on him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs. They made comments supportive of President Donald Trump. That is a synopsis of what he reported to police.
The police arrest of Smollett came about a month later. They were accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack. Their assertion was he did so in an effort to use the notoriety to advance his career.
The dismissal of the original case came March 26, 2019. That was three weeks after Smollett was first charged in a 16-count indictment. The dismissal drew an outcry from then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent. They branded the reversal a miscarriage of justice.
Enter the special prosecutor
In response the state’s attorney’s office said its decision to drop the charges was a just outcome. Their statement at the time said the dismissal was part of an agreement with Smollett to forfeit his $10,000 bond. So, Smollett was paying the prosecutor’s office $10K to get off. Cook County Judge Michael Toomin later appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as a special prosecutor.
The special prosecutor was charged with the duty to review the case. Was the state’s attorney’s handling of the case proper? Did the report receive properly handling by the police? Did Chicago politics of play a part? Was this proper application of the justice system?
A Cook County grand jury returned the new indictment. This comes after the special prosecutor found “… reasonable grounds exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett…” in conjunction with the indictment.
U.S. Attorney Webb said he has yet to reach a conclusion about whether local prosecutors engaged in wrongdoing. He is not at the point of releasing his conclusions whether anyone else involved in the case may have culpability. That aspect of his inquiry is continuing.
Other tasty inputs
The actor sued the city of Chicago in November. He is accusing municipal officials of maliciously prosecuting him. This latest development does seem to weaken Smollett’s suit against the city. Stay tuned. We are following the developments in this “hate crime for hire” allegation, prosecution, dismissal, re-charging, law suit filing, political and judicial mess. At any rate, actor Jussie Smollett was charged again on Tuesday. Stay tuned…