[OPINION] The Jussie Smollett Case Then and Now: Shocking and Confusing

CHICAGO, Ill. (FNN NEWS) – Today in a shocking news release, the prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case dismissed and dropped all charges against him. Smollett, as we know, is the “Empire” TV star that prosecutors say faked a “hate crime” against himself claiming that he was racially and sexually targeted and attacked.


The Rewind: Smollett’s allegations & Everyone’s Initial Reactions

On January 30, Chicago police announced that they were seeking two persons of interest who were seen on video in the area where Smollett claimed he was attacked.

On February 13, Chicago police, after identifying the two persons of interest and conducting their investigations, arrested the suspects based upon video and physical evidence they had gathered. The two men were identified as brothers who were also acquainted with Smollett.

On February 15, Chicago police conducted interviews with the two men, but in a twist, the men were released later that day. Police based the release on new evidence that became available during the interviews with the men. One piece of evidence was a check in the amount of $3,500 that Smollett had written to the brothers. Police claimed it was written for services that the two men said Smollett recruited and payed them to attack him. Police then changed the direction of their investigation and began looking at Smollett as masterminding the fake attack. Smollett pushed back against any claims that he planned a fake attack and recruited anyone to help him do so.

Both Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson and prosecutor Kim Foxx made public announcements regarding new evidence and the arrest of Smollett. Johnson gave a blistering news conference that listed Smollett’s role in the fake attack and about how many man hours and resources were spent on collecting evidence and investigating the fake crime. Foxx laid out the plan prosecutors were taking to bring Smollett to trial as Smollett continued to maintain and profess his innocence.

State Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case in February, with documents obtained earlier this month via a Freedom of Information Act request showing that Foxx had asked Johnson to turn the investigation over to the FBI.

The case separated and divided ideas, thoughts and swirled emotions. Supporters of Smollett in the initial phase of the case later dropped sympathy for the actor.


Fast Forward to the Present

As many people waited for Smollett’s case to come to trial the news of his case being dropped by the prosecution hit the media circuit and the news was felt with shock, anger and a large dose of confusion. What happened? How could a person with so much evidence that would prove one guilty get all of their charges dropped? The prosecutor claiming it would be a waste of time to prosecute the case because if Smollett was found guilty he would have gotten “community service” as his punishment. The prosecution stated that Smollett had already completed two days of community service therefore it was no need to go to trial. What happened here? Is Smollett guilty or is he innocent? That question remains and we may never truly know because there was no trial and the findings and recommendations of the case have been sealed by the judge.

Now everyone has their opinion of the case and mine is no greater than anyone else’s, but I always wondered why the Grand Jury initially did not bring an indictment, yet the prosecutor did. Superintendent Johnson had released statements that there was so much evidence in the case he was sure Smollett was guilty of his charges. Later, the Grand Jury brought a sixteen-count felony indictment on Smollett referencing lying in his second interview with police? So, there was good evidence in the subsequent lie, but what about the first original charge?

I always thought that parts of the evidence may have been speculated. Now, this sounds funny, but that does occur. The check that was classified as a critical piece of evidence did not really show or reveal truth that it was paid to the men for their role in the staged attack. It clearly shows it was written, it shows who it was written to and it shows what it was written for. Now if you would believe any part of the check, then you should be believing all of the check, not just parts. The two men also claimed the check was written to them for body training purposes. Texts would also contribute to that claim. Also, the two men are seen on video purchasing items that were used in the attack.

So it’s not the notion of there being no evidence, but is there enough evidence? At this point who knows, but one thing is sure: I am confused and I can’t say truly if Smollett is guilty or innocent. This one clearly has surprised many, including Chicago police and its mayor. Johnson confirmed that he was not told the charges would be dropped, telling reporters, “We found out about it when you all did.”


Jim Randle is a former law enforcement officer and contributor for Florida National News. |

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