The case against Jussie Smollett took an unexpected turn last week that still has people scratching their heads.
Earlier this week, prosecutors in Chicago announced that they would not pursue the charges they levied against the Empire actor after the alleged he lied about being the victim of a hate crime assault. Speculation soon emerged as to why, after everything everyone went through, the Cook County State Attorney’s office aren’t going to attempt to prosecute an alleged crime, particularly one this high profile. Their answer? It wasn’t worth it.
According to an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx claimed Jussie Smollett’s trial would cost too much and they were afraid they didn’t have a shut-and-close case.
“For a variety of reasons, including public statements made about the evidence in this case, my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain,” Foxx wrote in the op-ed. “There was considerable evidence, uncovered in large part due to the investigative work of the Chicago Police Department, suggesting that portions of Smollett’s claims may have been untrue or that he had direct contact with his so-called attackers. Claims by Smollett or others that the outcome of this case has ‘exonerated’ him or that he has been found innocent are simply wrong. He has not been exonerated; he has not been found innocent.”
Furthermore Foxx said that in any case like this, prosecutors need to find the balance between “the severity of the crime” and the “likelihood of securing a conviction.” She also welcomed an outside review of how Chicago police and the State Attorney’s office handled the Jussie Smollett investigation and case.
“Let me state publicly and clearly that I welcome an outside, nonpolitical review of how we handled this matter,” she wrote. “I am not perfect, nor is any other prosecutor out there, but ensuring that I and my office have our community’s trust is paramount.”
On Tuesday (March 26), Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett. The actor faced 16 counts of disorderly conduct charges for allegedly staging an attack against himself, claiming it was a hate crime. The deal reached between Smollett and prosecutors is that the actor’s record will be wiped clean, but he will forfeit the $10,000 he paid to post bond.
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