As the whiplash of accusations and recriminations in the Jussie Smollett saga threaten to create a whirl-like situation in the Windy City, questions and outrage are filling in for the dearth of information as to why charges against the Empire star were dropped on Tuesday morning.
Law&Crime Network host Bob Bianchi was once the chief prosecutor in Morris County, New Jersey. In an afternoon interview with Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith, Bianchi harshly mocked the Cook County prosecutor’s apparently dime-turned change-of-heart.
“Shep, I have a question. Why not give the guy a kiss?” Bianchi sardonically quizzed the host. “This is unbelievable. It’s a disgrace to those truly victims of hate crimes, to the police that exhaustively went through this. To a prosecutor who accepted that he committed these crimes. To the grand jury that indicted him. And there are defendants that we have–that I represent right now that have done far, far less and they wouldn’t get this treatment.”
After running through a list of public agencies and figures in Chicago who were “thrown under the bus,” Bianchi noted the official reason given for the dismissal of Smollett’s multiple disorderly conduct charges.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx previously said:
After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.
“Yikes!” Bianchi replied. “You’d think you’d [review the facts and circumstances] when you present the case to the grand jury.”
“Because there’s only one valid reason to reverse a grand jury investigation and that is newly discovered evidence–Brady material,” Bianchi noted, making referencing exculpatory or impeaching information that relates directly to the innocence or guilt of a criminal defendant–and which draws its name from the 1963 landmark Supreme Court case of Brady v. Maryland.
Smith then interjected to clear up some of the information emanating from Chicago City Hall after the controversial decision was made.
“The prosecutors make a decision not to prosecute,” Smith noted. “And then the mayor and the police chief come out and say there’s a deal that’s been brokered behind which he’s hiding, but by definition, there’s no deal. Charges are dismissed.”
The discussion then turned to the court’s decision to seal all the records in the case.
“Everything is dropped and everything is sealed?” the titular host of Shepard Smith Reporting asked.
“Right,” Bianchi confirmed.
Pressing on, Smith questioned: “Will we never know?”
To which Bianchi responded:
You know what I would do? If I were the police department, I’d say I want to sue him civilly and bring him to the court for the tens perhaps hundreds of thousands of police resources that could have went to ferreting out real crime that were wasted on this investigation. … What they didn’t say is he didn’t do this. You can’t take the guy’s $10,000 for no reason. You’ve got to take it because there’s an admission: “Listen, we’ll get rid of your case; we’ll dismiss the charges if you give this as a penalty.” So the prosecutor is saying that’s punishment enough. The prosecutor did not say he did not do this. And if I were the Chicago Police Department or the mayor, I would bring a civil suit to get him on the record.
Smith pushed back a bit suggesting simultaneously that there shouldn’t be a rush to judgment and that there may have been political influence at play in the decision.
“There’s got to be something we don’t know, Bob,” Smith said. “We do know the state’s attorney recused herself in the early going. Said that the family was unhappy with the way it was being handled. That she had received a communication from the former chief of staff from the former first lady. We don’t know if she was involved in this in any way.”
[image via screengrab/Fox News]