John did a great job of covering the breaking news in the Jussie Smollett case earlier today, and if you somehow missed the story you should definitely check it out. But after more and more facts and opinions began trickling out, it clearly appeared that this was a case of the Chicago Way on steroids. The difference here, however, was that there was some internecine warfare going on between the power players. The short version of the story is, of course, that an entire legal system that was prepared to hold the Empire Actor accountable for a high profile “hate crime” hoax that gripped the entire nation was derailed under extremely dubious circumstances. The various actors involved in this political passion play each had their own role to enact and none of it looks good.
The New York Post had some of the early details, mixed with a healthy dose of completely understandable skepticism.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday ripped the decision to allow the charges against Jussie Smollett to be abruptly dropped — calling it a “whitewash of justice.”
Emanuel and Police Chief Eddie Johnson expressed fury over the secrecy with which the deal was made, with the top cop saying he found out only when the media did.
Smollett “chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal that circumvents the legal system,” Johnson said.
Emanuel scoffed at the $10,000 bail forfeiture that Smollett agreed to, saying, “10,000 dollars does not even come close to what the city spent on resources” investigating the case.
There’s more of that at the link if you can stomach it, but good luck with that.
First of all, allow me to offer a rare moment of props to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He got out and called out this situation for precisely what it clearly is and he had the Chief of Police by his side echoing his sentiments in a far more controlled fashion than I’d have been able to manage. (Though I will say that calling it a “whitewash” was a rather odd choice in this case.) As many of you know, the Chicago PD hasn’t always been on the best of terms with Emanuel, to say the least, particularly earlier in his tenure when he was frequently seen to be throwing the cops under the bus. But today they stood shoulder to shoulder and found common cause in what normally would have been an unlikely place.
Their complaints are justified because this situation stinks on ice and there are a lot of Chicago Way players involved. We had a situation where the cops were 100% convinced that Smollett pulled off a hoax. They had Ola and Abel Osundairo on camera and being seen buying the rope, the bleach, the red hats and other elements of the supposed crime. They had confessions from them, saying that Smollett organized the hoax.
They had the dubious nature of Smollett’s story, down to the detail of how he somehow managed to hold onto that Subway sandwich and finish eating it after being doused with bleach and having a noose put around his neck. It was all there. We know that evidence was presented to a grand jury which not only agreed with the prosecutors but added even more felony charges.
And then, without the cops or the Mayor even knowing about it until the press releases went out, the case suddenly… fell apart? Adding insult to injury, the judge in the case sealed the records so nobody could find out what sort of dirty deals were going on. Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.
We’ve also seen revelations that the State’s Attorney in the case, Kim Foxx, was in contact with an aide to Michelle Obama and a member of Smollett’s family as this drama unfolded.
Foxx’s call to Johnson came after an influential supporter of the “Empire” actor reached out to Foxx personally: Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney and former chief of staff for former First Lady Michelle Obama, according to emails and text messages provided by Foxx to the Chicago Sun-Times in response to a public records request.
Tchen passed Foxx’s number to a relative of the actor, and the ensuing conversations with the family member were cited by Foxx last month as the reason she recused herself from Smollett’s prosecution as the actor faces disorderly conduct charges for allegedly making a false police report.
And, yet again… the judge sealed the records?!?!? To put this in Twitter acronym format for a PG-13 audience, AYFKM? Having the records of a criminal court proceeding sealed for anyone who is not a juvenile is rare, to say the least. And there are usually procedures to go through before such a request can be granted. These records were sealed by a friendly judge before we even knew what was going on.
If there were any chance that Smollett wasn’t guilty of perpetrating a hoax, either the Osundairo brothers would be locked back up pending trial or the cops would be searching the entire city for two other black guys in MAGA hats. Neither of those things is happening. There are suggestions that Smollett has “done community service” and that’s enough. There is no record of him doing any community service.
Still, Jussie Smollett and his attorneys were allowed to walk out into a press conference and claim that he had “told the truth every step of the way” and that he’d been totally proven to be right. Odds are he’s already gotten his job back on Empire and probably a raise. And we’re all stuck in the Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower scene from Dallas. Everyone is just supposed to forget about this and move on like it never happened. Because that’s the Chicago Way. The outrage will eventually die down and those in favored positions can escape accountability.
This is another steaming pile of crap from a city famous for producing such turds. Well done, Chicago. As I said on Twitter earlier today, I guess pizza isn’t the only terrible thing about the Windy City.