Before the case went to trial, Jussie Smollett had all charges of him faking a hate crime dismissed.
By Mickie Shaw, Multimedia Editor
Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who had been charged with staging a hate crime against himself.
The charges, which were dropped March 26 by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, came two weeks after Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts. Smollett agreed to perform two days of community service, forfeit his $10,000 bond and his records were sealed.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community … we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the charges being dropped a “whitewash” of justice, and that it was from top-to-bottom not on the level.
“Where is the accountability in the system?” said Emanuel. “You can not have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them, and another set of rules apply to everybody else.”
The city is suing Smollett for $130,100 for the costs of the investigation.
The 36 year old reported he was assaulted while walking home after leaving a Subway restaurant at approximately 2 a.m. The assailants, one wearing a ski mask, beat him in the face while shouting racist and homophobic slurs. He also claimed the men shouted “This is MAGA-land” referring to the Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” splashed him with an unknown chemical and slung a noose around his neck. Smollett said he was attacked because he is black, gay and a community activist.
Chicago police originally handled the report as a hate crime. A three-week investigation discovered two Nigerian brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo, were paid $3,500 by Smollett to stage the attack on him. While detained by police, the brothers claimed Smollett said he orchestrated the hoax to land a bigger salary on “Empire” and for publicity. Smollett is sticking to his original claim that he was attacked.
Joseph Magats, State Attorney Foxx’s top deputy told the Chicago Tribune, “The fact that [Smollett] feels that we have exonerated him, we have not. I can’t make it any clearer than that.”
The Chicago police union has called for Foxx’s resignation, and petitions have been filed asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Foxx’s handling of the case.
If Smollett staged his own attack, Valley College students believe it will affect future hate crime reports.
Economics major Daniel Ramirez, 21, said, “It’s really harming the LGBT community and it’s really harming victims overall.”
“I think he is trying to exploit a lot of people’s feelings and hurt in America for personal gain. It’s kind of disappointing to see that,” said Valley student Angel Crowe.