Smollett case smacks of clearcut favoritism

Television actor Jussie Smollett lied when he claimed he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago, police maintain. They say he used two accomplices to stage the assault, in a bid for publicity he may have hoped would help his career.

Yet, Smollett will serve no time behind bars for his offenses. A grand jury had indicted him on 16 charges, all felonies.

This past week, Cook County, Illinois, prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett. State Attorney Kim Foxx insisted that even if the actor had been convicted in trial, he would not have been sentenced to prison.

In return for prosecutors’ decision to let him walk, Smollett agreed to let Chicago keep the $10,000 he had posted in bail to get out of jail after being arrested initially.

Chicago officials, furious at county prosecutors’ decision, are demanding he reimburse the city $130,000 to cover the cost of a police investigation into his false claim. Even if he refuses to pay, the worst city officials can do is seek fines and court costs from him.

The bottom line, then, is Smollett is getting away with diverting Chicago police resources from handling real crimes — and with stoking divisiveness nationwide — for the grand total of $10,000.

One wonders how Cook County authorities handle such cases involving non-celebrities who can’t afford $10,000 get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Smollett should have been prosecuted and, if convicted, sentenced to time behind bars.

Freeing him sends a terrible message in many ways. One is that money and fame can make a difference in how justice is administered. The other is that Cook County authorities see no need to deter others from false claims of being victimized because of race and / or sexual preference.

Those who really have been victims of such crimes may have a different opinion.


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