Jussie Smollett sentencing: Kim Foxx says ‘kangaroo prosecution’ led to actor’s punishment

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Cook dinner County, Illinois, State’s Legal professional Kim Foxx slammed the authorized staff behind the legal prosecution of Jussie Smollett, writing in an op-ed that the “justice system failed” simply hours after the disgraced Hollywood star was sentenced to jail time for his hate crimes hoax conviction. 

“At its best, our justice system should make people safer, hold accountable those who seek to harm others and earn the trust of its citizenry. At its worst, the system can be easily manipulated in furtherance of thinly veiled political agendas,” Cook dinner County State’s Legal professional Kim Foxx wrote in an opinion piece printed within the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday night. “On Thursday, the damaging, costly, and disingenuous criminal prosecution of Jussie Smollett came to an end.”

She added: “Smollett was indicted, tried and convicted by a kangaroo prosecution in a matter of months. Meanwhile, the families of more than 50 Black women murdered in Chicago over the last 20 years await justice.”

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Smollett, now 39, advised Chicago Police on Jan. 29, 2019 that he was attacked by two masked males, whom he believed had been White, within the metropolis’s downtown space at about 2 a.m. He alleged that the pair positioned a rope round his neck, poured some “unknown substance” on him and made homophobic and racist feedback. The Black man, who’s homosexual, reportedly claimed they mentioned, “This is MAGA country” in the course of the confrontation. 

Unable to search out video of the assault and amid conflicting stories relating to the occasions, police launched photos displaying individuals of curiosity in the future later, the 2 individuals whom they hunted for questioning. In the meantime, celebrities, public officers and civil rights activists flooded social media with messages of help for Smollett.

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Police later questioned two males – however then launched them with out submitting prices, and introduced they wished to re-interview Smollett. 

A jury convicted actor Jussie Smollett of five counts of disorderly conduct for staging a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago and lying to police.

A jury convicted actor Jussie Smollett of 5 counts of disorderly conduct for staging a racist, anti-gay assault in Chicago and mendacity to police.
(AP Graphic)

On Feb. 20, 2019, prosecutors accused Smollett of submitting a false report and charged him with felony disorderly conduct after police obtained proof that Smollett paid the 2 males – brothers – to assist him faux the assault, officers mentioned on the time.  In March 2019, the Cook dinner County grand jury indicted him on 16 counts of falsely reporting an offense, however the prices had been dropped weeks later. 

Particular Prosecutor Dan Webb was later tapped to research, and a grand jury in the end returned a six-count indictment.

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Smollett pleaded not responsible and went to trial in November and December 2021. He testified for hours earlier than a jury convicted him on 5 of the six counts.

He was sentenced on Thursday to 150 days within the Cook dinner County Jail, 30 months of felony probation, and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution. As he was being led out of court docket after his sentencing, he shouted that he was “innocent” and “not suicidal.” 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lauded the sentence, saying in a press release that town “feels vindicated in today’s ruling.” 

JUSSIE SMOLLETT SENTENCED IN 2019 HATE CRIME HOAX

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“The criminal conviction of Jussie Smollett by a jury of his peers and today’s sentencing should send a clear message to everyone in the City of Chicago that false claims and allegations will not be tolerated,” she wrote. “The malicious and wholly fabricated claim made by Mr. Smollett resulted in over 1500 hours of police work that cost the City over $130,000 in police overtime.” 

Foxx, who has served as state’s lawyer since 2016, isn’t any stranger to the Smollett case. Foxx and her workplace first prosecuted the previous “Empire” actor in 2019, after the allegations arose. She then recused herself from the case in February 2019, earlier than the actor was ever charged, citing discussions between her and certainly one of Smollett’s family members. 

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In December 2021, Particular Prosecutor Webb – who prosecuted Smollett in his latest trial – selected to not pursue legal prices in opposition to Foxx, however alleged she and her workplace violated authorized ethics and made false statements relating to the investigation. 

Foxx additional defended herself and her workplace and pointed the blame elsewhere in Thursday’s oped, writing that the case “was treated like no other” due to near-immediate leaks to the media and a former prime cop’s tv information look “to discuss the evidence and Mr. Smollett’s assumed guilt prior to formal charges being filed.”

This booking photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office shows Jussie Smollett.

This reserving photograph supplied by the Cook dinner County Sheriff’s Workplace reveals Jussie Smollett.
(Cook dinner County Sheriff’s Workplace by way of AP)

“Given the reputational price Smollett paid, the $10,000 bond we held, and the fact that he’d never been accused of a violent crime, my office made the decision not to further pursue a criminal conviction,” she wrote. “This story should have ended there, as thousands upon thousands of non-prosecuted cases do every day.”

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“Instead, taxpayers have since spent millions of dollars for the criminal prosecution of a hoax,” she went on. “Rather than working collaboratively to stem rising crime or free the wrongly convicted, a small group of people hijacked the judicial system to enact what is best described as mob justice.”

Talking about Webb’s report, she wrote: “Predictably, the probe found no criminal wrongdoing and still un-ironically accused me of “abuses of discretion.” It’s a playbook: attack and marginalize anyone fighting to create a more just system, one that recognizes the rule of law.”

Foxx went on to explain how the mob in opposition to Smollett was “relentless, organized and effective.”

“A judge appointed a special prosecutor with an unlimited budget to reopen the investigation into a nonviolent Hollywood actor, a complete disregard for the discretion that prosecutors must have to be effective and independent,” she wrote. “As a former prosecutor, Dan Webb knows that prosecutors have that power, and more importantly, knows there is no “abuse of discretion” standard. In fact, the Supreme Court has recognized the “huge discretion” of prosecutors, and that courts should defer to the original prosecutorial decision. Webb knows this, and could refer to his friend Bill Barr’s own remarks.”

She added: “Just because we do not like the outcome should not mean we bully prosecutors and circumvent the judicial process to get it changed.”

Each day Publish’ Madelin Fuerste and Matt Finn contributed to this report. 

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