Outrage over the dismissal of charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett has apparently extended well beyond the Chicago Police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Early Thursday morning, President Donald Trump called it “an embarrassment to our nation.” He didn’t stop there though. He also announced that federal authorities will investigate what happened.
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
“FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago,” he declared in a tweet.
The circumstances surrounding the case’s dismissal have raised a lot of questions without any clear answers. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said that the decision was made based on Smollett agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 bond money and do community service, yet his defense attorney insisted there was no deal and prosecutors simply dropped the case. Also, community service is typically required of people who are sentenced, not people whose cases are dismissed in court.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx even said that the decision did not exonerate Smollett, and that they had a strong enough case against him.
“We believe that the facts were sufficient to charge and try Mr. Smollett for the crimes,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said to the local ABC station.
The case had national attention even before Smollett was charged. It began when he claimed he was attacked by two white men shouting slurs and a pro-Trump remark. Police investigated the case as if Smollett was the victim, then came upon evidence that led them to believe Smollett had staged the attack. Evidence showed that the alleged attackers had been two black men who knew Smollett. Cops said the men admitted to being paid by Smollett to carry out the attack. This led to Smollett being indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly making a false report.
Foxx had said in February that she was recusing herself from the case over a potential conflict, but she never officially did so. Had she recused herself, the court would have appointed a special prosecutor, instead of Foxx’s office still handling the case. It was recently discovered that Smollett’s previous attorney Tina Tchen, who was once Michelle Obama‘s chief of staff, spoke to Foxx about the case.
It appears that federal authorities will now try to get to the bottom of what happened. There is already a federal investigation of a threatening letter that Smollett received, which he allegedly sent to himself.
[Image via Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images]