Jussie Smollett cleared of charges

Samuel Ogali, Courier Staff

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On Tuesday, all 16 felony charges were dropped by the Cook County State Attorney’s office against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in his alleged involvement in staging a hate crime against himself. For several weeks, preparations seemed to indicate Smollett would be able to face a jury of his peers as the judge granted cameras to be allowed in the courtroom; Smollett’s defense team wanted this in efforts project his firm innocence by allowing the entire public to see. Well, that obviously will not be happening now as the case has pretty much been wiped clean and sealed, preventing the public from ever knowing the truth. This whole case involving Smollett had its twist and turns, but to have it just abruptly end like this honestly makes no sense; I’m confused and want answers.

In order to see how this whole story has transcended, it only makes sense to reflect on how we got here. On Jan. 29, Smollett had claimed to be the victim of a racial and homophobic hate crime, claiming to have had bleached poured on him and a noose placed out around his neck by two white men who also claimed to have said, “We’re in MAGA country.” Immediately, an outpour of support from actors to even presidential candidates like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris came out proclaiming it to be a “modern day lynching.” Smollett saw universal sympathy, and then things started to change.

The suspects who Smollett claimed to have been white were actually two Nigerian Americans, who later confessed to knowing Smollett and conspiring to stage the entire incident, as well. Furthermore, Smollett began to stop working with authorities by not responding to further interview requests and releasing redacted phone records, instead of just releasing his phone altogether. Even with that, Smollett publicly slammed those for accusing him of faking a hate crime and vociferously proclaimed his innocence. Then, Smollett turned from victim to suspect.

On Feb. 21, Smollett was arrested and charged for falsifying a police report. Police were furious and people were taken aback; why would anyone purposely fake a hate crime? No matter how you felt about Smollett, being innocent or guilty, we simply didn’t have the information and it appeared as if it was going to be presented in the court of law, and now that’s not even going to happen.

Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx who recused herself admits that prosecutors had the evidence to prove that Smollett did in fact lie, but defended her decision to drop the charges by comparing it to other cases of the same caliber. Yet, the police and the mayor’s office was blindsided by this news, as well. This whole debacle feels like a bad episode of Law and Order because the story keeps changing and with the case sealed from the public, it is still left in utter confusion. On Thursday March 28, President Donald Trump announced that the F.B.I. and Justice Department would be reviewing the conduct of this investigation. All I want are answers because I, like so many others, don’t know what or who to believe anymore.

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