The decision to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett will now be under scrutiny as the FBI and the Department of Justice review the case under President Trump’s directive.
The president announced on Thursday the investigation into the “outrageous” decision in Chicago to drop all of the charges against the “Empire” actor after he allegedly faked a hate crime against himself in January.
“FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!” Trump tweeted as the controversy escalated over the Cook County prosecutors’ decision to dismiss a 16-count indictment against Smollett after a deal for two days of community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond to the city.
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
Fox News senior judicial analyst, Andrew Napolitano, agreed with Trump, telling “Fox & Friends” Thursday that “the president is 100 percent correct” for looking into potential corruption involving law enforcement.
“I mean doing something for the wrong reason, as a political favor,” Napolitano explained. “That’s an improper use of government authority and needs to be investigated.”
Despite Smollett being indicted by a grand jury, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself from the case in February, dropped the charges. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police blasted the decision in scathing rebukes Wednesday, releasing the complete 61-page investigative report in the alleged staged hate crime.
Adding to the controversy, Fox News obtained an internal email from Foxx’s office which shows a request of assistant state’s attorneys to find other examples of when the office had previously dropped charges in a similar way.
Internal memo shows State’s Attorney office scrambling for cover, as FBI reportedly probes decision to drop Smollett charges https://t.co/pedjvRrzUh
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 28, 2019
Smollett’s deal does not mean he has been exonerated of the alleged disorderly conduct in staging the fake hate crime against himself and further criminal charges can still be brought against the 36-year-old actor. An FBI investigation is still pending on the threatening letter Smollett claimed he received while on the “Empire” set of the Chicago Fox studio. The actor could face up to a decade in prison if he is found guilty of sending himself the hate mail laced with white powder days ahead of the staged attack.
Foxx clarified Wednesday that “it was not our decision to have the resolution made under seal,” which allows Smollett “to have his criminal record to the police report around the arrest sealed.”
Asked who benefits from the deal made, besides Smollett who can not be criminally charged on the same charges, Napolitano was unsure.
“There are pieces of the puzzle that we don’t yet understand.” he said. “All of this is below the radar. Somebody wants something and so they did a favor for somebody else. And I can’t fill in the blanks yet.”