Perfectly normal thing for criminals to do, altering their appearance with make-up … before donning masks that cover the make-up. “Remember when Smollett agreed to testify against two innocent men before he learned they were the Nigerian brothers he hired to fake the attack?” notes James Hasson, commenting on the clip below. Yep, I do. That’s how far he and his team are willing to go to cover his trail — first potentially incriminating two innocent men, now apparently doubling down on accusing the Osundairo brothers on the theory that they might have been, uh, wearing whiteface.
I know some of you think all lawyers are lying garbage who belong at the bottom of the ocean. Having reviewed this clip, I’m here to say: You are correct.
Not just defense lawyers either!
The Cook County State’s Attorney has circulated an email asking prosecutors in the office to come up with other examples where they just dropped felony charges the way they did in the Jussie Smollett case … this, as Jussie was making a hasty retreat out of Chi-Town via O’Hare International Airport.
According to the memo, obtained by the CBS affiliate in Chicago, the brass wrote, “We are looking for examples of cases, felony preferable, where we, in exercising our discretion, have entered into verbal agreements with defense attorneys to dismiss charges against an offender if certain conditions were met, such as the payment of restitution, completion of community service, completion of class, etc.”
It’s a promising sign of an above-board disposition when they’re at the “Can we find other examples of our behavior as inexplicable as this?” stage. TMZ notes that Smollett did not, in fact, pay restitution to the city for the cost of the police investigation, which would have run into hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than the ten grand he gave up by forfeiting his bond. Nor did he do any court-ordered community service. He spent a couple of days farting around with various community groups, which conveniently provided prosecutors with a fig leaf to claim that he’d done some meaningful amount of service.
And according to CWB Chicago, which spent some time digging around in recent court filings, the state probably can’t find other recent examples of deals as sweet as the one Smollett got. Of 11 recent cases involving false police reports, seven involved guilty pleas and two are ongoing. The other two involved an 18-year-old, who got off with 30 hours of court-ordered community service and deferred prosecution (possibly because of his age?), and a 36-year-old, whose case was dropped without a plea after he completed 20 hours of community service. The last case is the only one that resembles how Smollett’s case was handled, but even that involved stiffer community service than what Smollett had to do after a false report that consumed hundreds of hours of police investigation. And there are other differences, notes CWB Chicago:
Smollett’s case was concluded in an “emergency hearing” rather than at his next scheduled court date on April 17th.
According to Cook County Circuit Court guidelines, emergency motions require “sudden or unforeseen circumstances” that “rise to the [level of] emergency.” Attorneys seeking an emergency hearing are required to explain “the reason(s) the matter should take precedence.”
Particularly odd was the decision to immediately seal Smollett’s court record. Even when individuals are acquitted of crimes, the court record remains accessible to the public until the individual seeks expungement—a 60- to 120-day process that entities such as the Chicago Police Department have an opportunity to contest.
State’s attorney Kim Foxx claimed yesterday that the sealing was a mistake and would be undone. It hasn’t been undone as of this writing.
How much does this process stink? This much:
Well, this is something. The National District Attorneys Association blasts the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for its handling of the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago, saying “the rich are treated differently [and] the politically connected receive favorable treatment” pic.twitter.com/7njxooKb86
— Mark Berman (@markberman) March 28, 2019
You’re in a bad spot when your own guild is dragging you.
Be sure to watch to the very end here, when Savannah Guthrie asks Smollett’s lawyer a tough question: If he’s telling the truth, isn’t it crucially important that the Osundairo brothers be prosecuted for their vicious crime and exposed in open court as liars about the alleged hoax? Why not demand that they be charged? That’s a tough question because the brothers have apparently decided to let this matter drop rather than double down on their claims that Smollett put them up to the whole thing. If Smollett’s lawyer were to antagonize them here on TV by demanding that they be prosecuted, they might change their minds and start talking to the media in gory detail about how Smollett orchestrated the whole thing. So what does she do? She lets them off the hook. “This wasn’t a very brutal attack,” states the lawyer for the alleged victim of a hate crime in defense of his alleged attackers. The real attack is supposedly Rahm Emanuel and Chicago PD impugning Smollett’s credibility. Pure trash.
Update: Jeryl Bier sends along this clip as the video Smollett’s lawyer is likely referencing in the “Today” interview, in case you want to see the Osundairo brothers’ foolproof whiteface skills at work.