‘What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision…which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the justice system…’
(Liberty Headlines) Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted Tuesday for a second time on charges of lying to police about a racist and anti-gay attack he was revealed to have staged on himself last year in downtown Chicago.
Smollett continues to deny the hoax was staged, despite a mound of evidence, including the confessions of two associates whom he hired to pretend to attack him and pour bleach on him in sub-zero weather.
Smollett told police he was walking home early on Jan. 29, 2019, when two masked men approached him, made racist and homophobic insults, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.
The two men, later found to be African immigrants and acquaintances of Smollett’s, were alleged to have shouted at the “Empire” actor “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan—although Chicago did not support Trump’s presidential bid in the election.
The indictment came from a special prosecutor who was appointed after Cook County prosecutors controversially dropped the same charges last March.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement that Smollett faces six counts of disorderly conduct, charges that stem from four separate false reports that he gave to police in which he contended he was a victim of a hate crime “knowing that he was not the victim of a crime.”
Smollett, who is black and gay, was originally charged with disorderly conduct last February for allegedly staging the attack and lying about it to investigators.
The allegations were dropped the following month with little explanation following the intervention of former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen, who is now overseeing the restructuring of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, is one of several who received major backing from Democrat mega-donor George Soros as part of a criminal-justice initiative designed to loosen the burden of laws that allegedly target minorities disproportionately.
Tina Glandian, Smollett’s attorney, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.
A judge in August appointed Webb, a former U.S. attorney, as a special prosecutor to look into why the original charges were dropped.
Webb also was looking into whether calls that Foxx had with Tchen and with a Smollett relative unduly influenced the decision to drop charges. Foxx claimed to have recused herself from the case but continued to weigh in.
At the time, Judge Michael Toomin, who assigned the case to Webb, raised the possibility that Smollett could be charged again.
In his news release, Webb said he concluded that prosecuting Smollett was “in the interest of justice” for a number of reasons, including the extensive details of Smollett’s false account as well as the resources that the police department threw at the investigation.
Attorneys and the judge noted that in Smollett’s case, double jeopardy does not apply because he was never prosecuted.
The city has sued Smollett, seeking reimbursement of more than $130,000 for overtime paid to officers who were involved in investigating Smollett’s report. Smollett’s attorneys have said the city should not be allowed to recover costs from Smollett because it accepted $10,000 from the actor “as payment in full in connection with the dismissal of the charges against him.”
Smollett’s case has become an issue in Foxx’s bid for a second term. Those looking to unseat her have blasted her handling of the matter as haphazard and indecisive. They say it indicates she has bad judgment and favors the rich and powerful in deciding who will be prosecuted.
Foxx’s campaign committee issued a biting statement Tuesday that bizarrely invoked former FBI Director James Comey‘s decision to briefly reopen an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s email shortly before the presidential election in 2016 that Donald Trump would win.
“What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision…which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the justice system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive,” the statement from Friends for Foxx said.
The Comey incident occurred during the Obama administration. Iit later was linked to the efforts by corrupt FBI officials, possibly directed by Obama himself, not only to cover up Clinton’s misconduct (under pressure from Attorney General Loretta Lynch—who, like Foxx supposedly had recused herself) but also efforts to smear and undermine Trump with false claims of Russian collusion.
Smollett has not had any notable film or television roles announced since his departure from the Fox series was announced in April 2019. Producers have the option to bring him back during the sixth and final season but have said they have no plans to do so.