Americans remain baffled by last week’s shocking, inexplicable dismissal of a Chicago grand jury’s 16 felony counts against actor Jussie Smollett. These charges could have cost serious prison time for a ham-handed hoax in which Smollett allegedly paid two body-building brothers to attack him and blame it on supporters of President Donald J. Trump.
The FBI and Justice Department are investigating this case and Smollett’s possible violation of federal law. Good! With any luck, this will send Smollett where he belongs for years: Behind bars.
Smollett insists that he did nothing wrong. But, mysteriously, the same officials who dismissed his charges think they got their man.
“I do not believe he is innocent,” prosecutor Joe Magats said. “Based on the facts and the evidence,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told WLS-TV, “this office believes that they could prove him guilty.” Regardless, she called the tender love and care that Smollett enjoyed “a just outcome based on the circumstances.”
So far, Smollett has skated. He surrendered his $10,000 bond and volunteered 16 hours at Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH. Chicago’s Corporation Counsel billed Smollett “$130,106.15 expended on overtime hours” in this inquest.
Smollett deserves lengthy incarceration, not just for this six-digit incineration of taxpayer money, but for the far graver diversion of police manpower that he triggered.
CBS Chicago reports that 24 detectives were yanked off other cases to spend some 1,000 hours probing Smollett’s complaint — before overtime. “We interviewed over 100 individuals in a canvass of the area and a follow-up canvass as our investigation expanded,” said police commander Edward Wodnicki.
Along with federal officials, Chicago cops executed 50 subpoenas and warrants for financial documents, phone records, and social-media posts. Police also pored over surveillance video from 55 city security cameras and private devices. “Those are resources and time spent that we can never get back,” police superintendent Eddie Johnson said in disgust.
There was plenty of crime to fight while cops, instead, performed their roles in Smollett’s psychodrama.
According to Chicago Police Department data, cops could have investigated and possibly prevented 2,654 offenses, had they not wasted 23 days chasing the rope-and-bleach wielding figments of Smollett’s imagination. These include:
• Murders: 20
• Criminal sexual assaults: 134
• Robberies: 342
• Aggravated-battery cases: 288
• Burglaries: 505
• Thefts: 734
• Motor-vehicle thefts: 559
• Shooting incidents (offensive and defensive): 72
Also, by the Washington Post’s estimate, Chicago police could have investigated any of 4,095 cold murder cases rather than hunt make-believe homophobic racists.
These dismissed charges send a dreadful message: If you want to call 911 and lie about fake crimes, go for it! Cops have coped with the Duke lacrosse “rape” case, the UVA “rape” conspiracy, the anti-Kavanaugh “gang rape” tale, and countless bogus claims of “hate crimes” perpetrated by Trump supporters. (Even as Trump fans actually get flogged for wearing Make America Great Again hats.) These accusers rarely, if ever, suffer any consequences for lying and cremating law-enforcement resources. If Smollett stays free, he will inspire fresh reports of fictional crimes.
Conversely, good luck to anyone black, gay, or both who reports a genuine act of racist, homophobic violence. Thanks to Smollett, such true crimes will engender undue skepticism and needlessly rolled eyes.
If Smollett mailed himself the menacing letter that he said he received before his “attack,” he will be ripe for a federal mail-fraud and postal-threat prosecution. Let’s hope that officials find Smollett’s fingerprints all over that envelope and his DNA on the dried saliva on its seal. If this sends Smollett to federal prison for several years, then hallelujah!
Smollett’s unjust, dropped-charge jackpot does not negate these facts:
At the expense of President Trump and his supporters, Jussie Smollett staged a hate crime to boost his brand, fraudulently score a raise on Empire, and, thus, deepen the income inequality between himself and the average U.S. worker. There is enough here to infuriate every American, from Left to Right.