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Articles Tagged with jussie smollett

It is hard to imagine a guy faking a hate crime attack just so he could get up on stage and call himself “the Gay Tupac,” but that is exactly what Jussie Smollett is accused of doing. Police believe that Smollett paid two African bodybuilders to stage an assault that made national headlines, infuriated activists, and mined the hatred and outrage surrounding recent police murders. However, investigators came to believe that Smollett had staged the attack leading to an investigation that cost the city at least $130,000. Further, he stoked the fires of racial outrage and when it turned out that the police had evidence the hate crime was staged, it made it more difficult for others facing similar assaults to report their crimes.

It is among the most frustrating and infuriating news stories all year. As of the writing of this article, Smollett has been convicted of the charges. Smollett still maintains his innocence. But the matter remains polarizing as several high-profile celebrities continue to support Smollett on the basis that the Chicago police department has a long history of wrongdoing. 

Understanding Double Jeopardy

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201The former Empire star who allegedly got himself beat up to provoke racial tensions could still face the same charges again. Typically, double jeopardy would prevent such a trial from ever occurring, but a little-known precedent established right here in Cook County may allow prosecutors to file charges again after charges against Smollett were dropped by lead prosecutor Kim Foxx.

Prosecutors will use the long-decided case of mafia enforcer Harry “The Hook” Aleman as precedent for bringing new charges against Smollett. In Aleman’s case, Cook County judge Michael Toomin ruled that because the judge in the original case had been bribed, the failed conviction and consequent acquittal did not count and allowed Aleman to be charged again with the same crimes

Toomin is the same judge who will hear prosecution arguments as to why Smollett should be tried again. The argument appears to be that Foxx should have recused herself from the case and since she did not, the entire episode was invalid from start to finish.

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Prosecutors in the Jussie Smollett case opted to offer the maligned Empire actor an alternative disposition sentence of community service and the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond in lieu of prosecuting Smollett on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Smollett stood accused of faking a hate crime against himself. Chicago police reportedly began investigating the event as an assault, but the two men who stood accused of the crime claimed Smollett hired them to beat him up. Chicago police then turned their attention to Smollett claiming that his motive for staging the attack was that he was unhappy with his salary on Empire.

Smollett, who is black and gay, earned the ire of just about everyone after evidence came pouring in that the hate crime was staged. Those who were victims of hate crimes denounced Smollett as drawing attention away from a legitimate issue and tinging it with a veneer of doubt. Indeed, the conversation concerning race-related assaults and homicides shifted toward how many of those were fake. Social media pundits seemed to latch onto the event as vindication that the entire dialogue concerning hate crimes is flawed.

Then, after the 16 felony counts against Smollett were dropped, the conversation shifted toward the price of justice in America and how those with money can buy their way out of trouble while those without are forced to stand trial for similar crimes. In other words, it was a departure from the narrative that the courts convict black defendants at a higher rate while giving a pass to white defendants for the same crime. The dichotomy shifted to rich versus poor.

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