Quote of the Day:
The damage is enormous. In an instant, Smollett transformed from a dirty liar into a teller of uncomfortable truths, and from a villain into a kind of progressive darling, a man to be excused, hugged, honored.
–New York Post's Andrea Peyser on the sudden dropping of all charges against Jussie Smollett
Justice in Chicago appears to be not at all blind to the status of the charged.
The deal to drop charges against "Empire" star Jussie Smollett, accused of fabricating a "hate crime" against himself by MAGA hate wearing attackers, was "so secretive it stunned and angered Chicago’s mayor and police chief — and anyone else who cares about truth and justice," as the columnist put it.
It is customary and important to put "alleged" before accusations that have not been proven in a court of law. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves and convict without judge or jury.
Smollett's case, however, will not go before a court of law–in the same circumstances, yours would and mine would.
We're all equal under the law. Or as they say in Chicago, post-Smollett: blah, blah,balh.
Important people cared about the outcome in the Smollett case.
Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama and an influential member of the Chicago legal establishment, reportedly wrote Cook's County State Attorney Kim Foxx that she “wanted to give you a call on behalf of Jussie Smollett and family who I know. They have concerns about the investigation.” Foxx recused herself from the case.
Progressives embraced Smollett as a gay, African-American victim of a hate crime after he claimed, no matter how improbable it was, that, having ventured out after midnight into sub-zero weather, he was set upon by thugs who told him, "This is MAGA country." One thing Chicago isn't is MAGA country.
As the story unraveled, it was alleged that Smolett had concocted the crime to raise his profile and obtain a bigger salary. The New York Times gives a good precis:
The police spent days poring over surveillance camera footage to locate the two men, and eventually homed in a pair of brothers who knew Mr. Smollett. But after hours of questioning, the police said, the men said they had been paid by the actor to concoct the attack as a way to gain publicity because he was unhappy with his “Empire” salary.
The resulting charges embarrassed Mr. Smollett, 36, imperiled his career and raised the possibility of jail time. As of Tuesday, his record, for official purposes at least, had been wiped clean.
The state’s attorney’s office said in a statement, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case,” including Mr. Smollett’s performance of community service and an agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond payment, “we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution.”
By the way, Smollett's "community service" was working 18 hours for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push.
And how far do you think that the forfeited bail money went towards covering the massive investigation into the Smollett case? And this in a city that is the murder capital of the U.S. and thus could have used the resources better.
But don't worry, Jussie said in a statement immediately after the charges were dropped, that he will continue to fight for the downtrodden:
I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.
The best thing for "marginalized people everywhere" is a functioning justice system that protects the rights of all, regardless of their station in life.
An impartial legal system that guarantees equal justice under the law is what sets up apart from Third World countries, where the rich and powerful tend to win.
The FBI is reportedly looking into aspects of the Smollett case, but so far he has skated and avoided some serious legal jeopardy.
The public is owed more than we know.
As it appears now, some people–well-connected celebrities, for instance–are now, the words of George Orwell, "more equal than others."
If there is a more benign explanation, I'm all ears.