Jussie Smollett’s alleged (and apparent) hate crime hoax brought two distinct waves of outrage. First was outrage over his being a victim of a racially and sexually oriented attack. The second wave was when the Chicago PD and Cook County State’s Attorney brought charges that he faked the attack and paid two others to do it for him.
A third wave of outrage struck just yesterday as news broke the the Cook County SA’s office dismissed all charges against Smollett and agreed to seal the records for a forfeiture of his $10,0000 in bail.
Of course, the sealed records aren’t exactly sealed due to what is likely a world record response time to a FOIA request. The Chicago PD is pissed off. So, too, is a public that is furious at hate crime hoaxes. So, too, is a public that sees different justice standards for the rich and famous over members of the general public.
Nearly everybody hated it. When Rahm Emanuel and Donald Trump are actually on the same page it is obvious that something seems remarkably wrong.
But is it wrong? The issue becomes the players:
(1) Jussie Smollett – actor and activist alleged to have committed crimes related to a hoax where he claimed to be a victim of a hate crime that he staged
(2) Kim Foxx – Cook County State Attorney, the second largest prosecutor office in the United States. Represents the People of the State of Illinois. Recused herself after talking with Jussie Smollett’s family
(3) Joseph Magats – The Assistant State’s Attorney who was in charge of the case after Foxx recused herself – Foxx is his boss.
(4) Cook County Courts – the arbiters between
(A) Chicago Police Department – agency that investigates crimes. Has the most time and effort invested into the case
(B) People of the State of Illinois
(C) The American Public
The Actual Case is Between the Jussie Smollett and the State Attorney and It was Settled
I am an advocate for resolving disputes outside of courts. In this instance, the Cook County State Attorney and Jussie Smollett settled this matter outside of the presence of a judge and/or a jury. It is reported that in exchange for Smollett forfeiting his bail (reported as $10,000) to Cook County, the State Attorney office would dismiss all charges and seal the records.
It can be understood that Smollett would be happy with this setup. He could claim that charges related to a hoax were dismissed and it cost him $10k (cheaper than paying his lawyers for longer – probably).
On the other side, The Cook County SA office is in good shape. They don’t have to waste time with trying Smollett on non-violent charges. It looks like it was a case where the State Attorney’s don’t care about this case when there are bigger fish to fry.
As far as Jussie Smollett, Kim Foxx, Joseph Magats and the Cook County courts were concerned (the people who were really involved) this was a good outcome.
The Supporting Cast was Infuriated
While those directly involved with the deal look like they are happy with it, many of those who didn’t make the deal are infuriated.
This happens frequently in many other circumstances. For example a family member may be upset with a child for making a plea deal and encourage the kid to fight.
Another example is a sports fan who can’t believe that their team signed a certain player in free agency. Of course the deal worked well for the player and the team. But like it or not, there are many times when there is someone who is not technically involved who plays a massive role in the ultimate outcome.
Some had Good Reason to be Pissed
The Chicago PD put a lot of work into this case, and many members of that department are infuriated that their work was for naught. They put hundreds of hours into this case and I think they, more than anybody, had a skin in that game.
This rage apparently resulted in the Chicago PD setting an all-time record for fastest full compliance with a FOIA request. So unhappy were one or more people with the department that a court order was violated in releasing the reports before they could be sealed.
Add to that activists who view that a famous person with political influence will have an easier time than a member of the public with those who view faked hate crimes as something to be punished. Again, Rahm Emanuel and Donald Trump are both angered at the same thing.
The public, of course, must be appeased. So public officials make some suggestion.
Smollett’s Problems May Just be Starting
There has been plenty of suggestion that Smollett is facing investigation and federal charges for sending false threats through the mail. Thus Smollett’s success in obtaining a dismissal in the state case could haunt him by causing some form of revenge with the federal case.
Resolving a Conflict often Creates Bigger Conflict
This situation is nothing new. Everybody sees problems that they think have been solved blow up into bigger ones. This is because of the generally larger universe that has some interest in and outcome that was not considered.
Jussie Smollett isn’t helping himself by running his mouth. Threats to sue are making things worse on him, as is the continued insistence that he is innocent.
On a battle between you and the world, bet on the world.