Jussie Smollett Case: Chicago Mayor Demands Answers After Hoax Charges Dropped
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the sudden move to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett over a hoax attack has made a fool of the city.
The state’s attorney’s office maintains Jussie Smollett has not been exonerated, while the actor’s lawyers say his record has been wiped clean.
Rahm Emanuel told ABC News: “They better get their stories straight because this is actually making a fool of all of us.”
Police maintain Jussie Smollett staged a racist and homophobic attack.
The actor has insisted throughout that he is innocent of all these allegations.
Speaking on Good Morning America on March 27, Mayor Emanuel pilloried Jussie Smollett, saying he “abused the city of Chicago”.
“You have the state’s attorney’s office saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax. He’s saying he’s innocent and his words aren’t true.”
Rahm Emanuel says he wants the court records unsealed so that all the evidence gathered by Chicago Police could be seen.
The mayor said he also wants prosecutors to explain why they made such a sudden reversal.
He said police had evidence that Jussie Smollett had made up claims that he was attacked on January 29 in downtown Chicago by two masked men who he claimed shouted racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and put a rope round his neck.
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Illinois prosecutor Joe Magats made the decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett on March 26 in a move that blindsided police – but he maintains that the TV actor is guilty.
He told CBS News: “Our priority is violent crimes and the drivers of violence.
“Jussie Smollett is neither one of those.”
He added that community service and a fine is a common outcome for such a case. When asked if those penalties were sufficient for Mr Smollett, he said: “I feel that it is.”
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney, told NBC News: “The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.
“Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped.”
Police, however, have disagreed, with Supt Eddie Johnson saying if Jussie Smollett “wanted to clear his name, the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence”.
A Chicago police union on Tuesday renewed calls for a federal inquiry looking into what role the state’s prosecutor Kimberly Foxx, who recused herself, played in the case.
In a statement to NBC, the Fraternal Order of Police said they are “outraged…but not surprised”.
The union said Kimberly Foxx had “transformed the prosecutor’s office to a political arm of the anti-police movement”.
The Fraternal Order of Police said their demand was based on reports of texts between Kimberly Foxx and a former Obama aide about the case.
State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case last month, citing a conflict of interest “based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case”.
According to local media, attorney Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, connected Kimberly Foxx with Jussie Smollett’s family in the days following the alleged attack.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Tina Tchen had texted Kimberly Foxx on February 1 that Jussie Smollett’s family had “concerns about the investigation”.
Kimberly Foxx later told the Chicago Sun-Times that those worries were regarding leaked information about the case from “police sources”, and that the family felt the FBI would keep a “tighter lid on the information”.