Law&Crime Network host Bob Bianchi ripped into Cook County prosecutors for dropping the criminal case against Empire actor Jussie Smollett despite evidence Chicago police brought to a grand jury with success.
“The police found probable cause,” he said. “23 grand jurors in Cook County found probable cause. The case was indicted, and he was given a kiss and a get out of jail free card.” Bianchi argued that Smollett should’ve pleaded guilty, paid restitution, and spent time in jail. He expressed similar outrage on Tuesday, after the news of dropped charges broke. Bianchi said the decision made “no sense.”
Law&Crime analyst Gene Rossi also voiced outrage, pointing out that the case took up the grand jury’s time.
Bianchi said he hoped that defense lawyers with clients charged with less could line up, and ask, “Madam District Attorney, can you please kiss my client too?”
Smollett stepped forward with the hate crime allegation in January. Smollett said that a late-night trip to a Subway restaurant in Chicago led to two men attacking him, putting a noose on him, and pouring on him a substance he believed to be bleach. The attackers yelled homophobic and racist slurs, and one said “This is MAGA country,” Smollett said.
Skeptics said the story was not believable and Smollett reacted on Good Morning America, saying during an interview that he was “pissed” about his doubters. Weeks of public speculation and law enforcement leaks to the media culminated in cops announcing charges against Smollett.
Cops claimed that he paid two brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo $3,500 to pretend to beat him up. Smollett staged the attack as a publicity stunt because he was disappointed with his pay on Empire, cops alleged. Through an attorney, the brothers said they regretted their involvement in the case. Smollett’s attorneys have called the circumstances of the Osundairos’ testimony into question.
Smollett maintains his innocence.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life,” he said Tuesday, after 16 felony disorderly conduct charges were dropped. His legal team released a statement in which Smollett was described as a “victim who was vilified.”
[Image via Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images]