The Illinois state attorney for Cook County defensively insisted in multiple media interviews that her office’s decision to drop all charges against Jussie Smollett was justified, however that the case being sealed was “inadvertent.”
The responsible authorities in dismissing the case were in frantic damage-control mode after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent very publicly blasted the decision. “This is making fools of all of us,” the mayor declared.
Before the case was actually sealed, the Chicago Police Department released 61 pages of investigative field reports as filed by detectives.
“The court file was not supposed to be sealed,” State Attorney Kim Foxx stated. “I think what happened, the clerk sealed the whole thing. We did not advocate, do not believe that the court file should be sealed.
“We believe in transparency even on difficult situations, we’ll answer the questions. We did not ask for that file to be sealed. I believe (unsealing the resolution) is in the process now. You will have the court file to look at.”
“It was not our decision to have the resolution made under seal,” Foxx said. “Because of the resolution, Mr. Smollett was allowed to have his criminal record to the police report around the arrest sealed.”
In a separate interview with the CBS affiliate in Chicago, Foxx complained that if the public is angry or frustrated by the Smollett results, it’s because they don’t understand the law.
“If people don’t know how the justice system works, and more specifically, alternative prosecution diversion, pre-trial diversion, this would seem like an odd outcome” says State's Attorney Kim Foxx about response to decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollett. @MaiReports pic.twitter.com/SvnL3pFOpy
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) March 27, 2019
All 16 felony charges against Smollett for allegedly lying to police were dropped on Tuesday, as the State Attorney’s office viewed two days of prior community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment as being adequate restitution. The practice of dropping charges for such community service and cash penalties is not uncommon for the Class 4 felonies that Smollett was charged with, claimed Foxx.
However, ABC 7 pointed out: “Even as Foxx said Smollett received no special treatment, officials in her office were circulating a memo, which has been confirmed by the I-Team, asking Cook County prosecutors for examples of cases like where charges were dropped under circumstances similar to Smollett’s.” The internal memo indicates an intentional effort to find an explanation and precedent for wiping away the charges.
In at least one interview, the state attorney admitted the dropped charges do not imply that Smollett is exonerated. She said that the facts of the case and the evidence they had gathered, she believed that her office could prove him guilty.
Sources indicate that the FBI is looking into the very unusual handling of this case. Federal officials are also still looking at filing federal charges in connection with mail fraud due to Smollett having mailed himself racially charged threats that he used to form part of the basis for his bizarre, attention-grabbing behaviors.
Possibly in that same publicity-seeking vein, Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian indicates they may sue the City of Chicago for how it has handled the case, defaming the actor.
As for sealing the case, social media is rampant with rumors that the case was sealed in order to shield the potential involvement of powerful people.
— Doe, John (@Ramtheramman) March 27, 2019