Chicago mayor says dropped Jussie Smollett charges are making ‘a fool of all of us’
ABC News(CHICAGO) — Still fuming from the decision by prosecutors to drop charges in the “hoax” attack case against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted the move Wednesday, saying all the evidence police collected against the TV star should be unsealed.
“He’s saying he’s innocent and his words aren’t true,” Emanuel told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. “They better get their story straight. This is actually making a fool of all of us.”
On Tuesday, the Illinois State Attorney’s officer dismissed all 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett stemming from what the 36-year-old actor claimed was a racist and homophobic attack on him that police investigators determined was a “hoax.”
Emanuel suggests it was unconscionable for prosecutors to dismiss the case after Smollett agreed to forfeit the $10,000 bond he put up and complete “two days” of community service at Operation PUSH, the non-profit Chicago community organization founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s find out what happened,” Emanuel said. “Especially [in] a city that embraced not only him as an actor but more importantly the values of being whoever you are, whoever you love, whatever your background is, you have a home here. He took that, turned it around and tried to self-promote himself. And the fact is, he’s walking around with no sense of contrition, no sense of remorse, and the fact is also the state’s attorney is saying he’s actually guilty of this hoax, and he’s walking around saying, ‘No, I’m innocent.'”
Cook County First Assistant State Attorney Joe Magats said Tuesday it was his decision alone to dismiss charges against Smollett.
Magats took over the case after his boss, Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, recused herself from the investigation after it surfaced that she had been in touch with Smollett’s family. Magats said he took into consideration Smollett’s lack of a criminal history and that the disorderly conduct charges are “low-level” felonies.
In an interview with ABC Chicago station WLS-TV, Magats defended his decision, saying it was “the right disposition in the case.”
But Emanuel called Magats’ decision “not on the level.”
“He’s an actor, a person of influence. He got special treatment,” he said of Smollett.
But one of Smollett’s attorneys, Tina Gladian, said she was shocked to hear Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson “double down” on their accusations against Smollett.
“I think if they believed the charges they never would have dismissed the case,” Gladian said on GMA of the state attorney’s office. “I’m saying their actions speak louder than words. They could have proceeded in a variety of ways. We were ready to move forward. We appeared in court and pled not guilty. We were ready to fight the charges and they’re the ones who voluntarily discontinued the matter, so I think that speaks volumes.”
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