After Smollett Charges Dropped, Trump’s Comment on Mueller Conclusions Was Somehow Front and Center

In a string of days, Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not charge President Donald Trump with a crime but did not exonerate him of obstruction either, and President Trump responded by claiming “complete and total exoneration. Now, charges have been dropped in Chicago against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, and this somehow became related.

News out of Chicago broke on Tuesday that all felony disorderly conduct charges against Smollett for allegedly filing a false report have been dropped. Smollett’s attorneys Tina Giandian and Patricia Brown Holmes responded by saying that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.”

“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement,” they said. The said that Smollett is a “victim” who “deserves dignity and respect.”

The saga began with Smollett as the alleged victim of a racist homophobic attack, then saw him as a person who faked a hate crime for fame, and now the charges are gone. Nonetheless, it seems the “slate wiped clean” remark struck a nerve that hasn’t been seen since the president proclaimed on Sunday that he had been “completely exonerated.”

Some seem to believe that Smollett has been exonerated, which is not exactly so. Smollett will perform community service and forfeit bond.

It seemed implicit that doing the community service is a semi-admission that a wrong was done. But the way prosecutors described this seemed to suggest the opposite.

Notice that they say Smollett’s service in the community is “voluntary.”

Responses like this received some pretty quick backlash, and the invariably referred to Trump.

[Image via Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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