No Apologies: Chicago’s Favorite B-Actor, Jussie Smollett, Has Got Nowhere to Go
Alone in the big City of Chicago
Jussie Smollett, who has seemed to fade into the background, is once again making news in Chicago. This actor who created self-inflicted pain is now adding a twist to his long-running epic. It is similar to a new episode of "Empire", and the series’ theme song “No Apologies” perfectly sums up Smollett’s ego:
…I do what I want
And say what I want with no apologies
Excuse me if I’m blunt I say what I want with no apologies
And they won’t shut me up, hell naw, hell naw
No, they won’t shut me up, hell naw, hell naw
I do what I want
And say what I want with no apologies
However, his fraud was not an episode of a popular television show. Instead, it was reality show
that would be lovingly called No Place to Go. Let’s recap.
For those who need their memory jarred, Smollett concocted an elaborate prank on the City of Chicago. In Smollett’s lively retelling of events to the police and the media in 2019, he was on his way back to his apartment after grabbing a Subway sandwich at 2 a.m, when he was attacked by two men in black. The duo was indistinguishable except for the gay and racial slurs hurled, and, of course, the fact that they both wore MAGA hats.
To add insult to injury, these two men placed a well-crafted noose around Jussie’s neck! Perhaps the pair had received a merit badge from the Boy Scouts for tying knots. This could have been an important clue to narrow down suspects.
The attack on poor Jussie consumed Chicago media, galvanized the national press, and eventually captured headlines across the pond. What kind of degenerates did we have in Chicago who would attack a gay actor? Jussie became an overnight sensation, dare I say, even a hero. And heroes need to let their followers know that they are shaken but not broken. Bowed but not shattered, Jussie went to the mic and addressed the people:
“The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words. I am working with authorities and have been 100 percent factual and consistent on every level. I’m not fully healed yet, but I’m going to (he says, reading from a piece of paper).
Just because there has been a lot of stuff said about me that is absolutely not true. I’m sure my lawyers sitting up there like: ‘No, Jussie, no.’ Above all, I fought... back. I’m the gay Tupac.”
Incredibly dramatic and heart wrenching. How could this happen in Chicago? In 2019? Chicago is the city of big shoulders. It was unfathomable that in Chicago, a bastion of liberalism, this type of racism and homophobia existed. Good thing Jussie was such a strong, black, gay man to be the beacon of strength for all gay and straight people of color living in a hate-filled Chicago.
At least this is the way Jussie Smollett planned the intrigue to go on before it all unraveled. As Smollett sunbathed in national recognition from the press, words of solidarity from politicians and awestruck fans, and his fellow black "Empire" co-stars, comedian Steve Harvey perfectly captured the intent of Smollett’s ploy when he said:
“This is about coming to the aid of another brother that has tasted the brutality of hatred and racism and bigotry.”
The Chicago Police Department put a great deal of manpower into finding the perpetrators of what turned out to be a deception. So committed to solving the crime, police investigators almost certainly put more time and energy into locating the culprits who “attacked” a celebrity than they would have had it been perpetrated against an ordinary citizen.
Of course, Jussie’s story was not about hatred, racism, or bigotry. Rather, Smollett conjured up a fictitious attack for the purposes of ego gratification and publicity in the hope it would translate into more film roles and personal enrichment. The fact is that he paid two Nigerian "Empire" extras $3,500 to portray assailants. The fact is that Jussie impeded the investigation from the beginning by refusing police requests to examine his phone. The fact is, when pushed, he gave a transcript of cell phone communications that were as heavily redacted as Hillary Clinton’s private-server e-mails.
Despite Smollett’s intransigence, the faux attack continued to grab headlines and distract police from investigating real crimes. As Smollett’s deceptions grew, the story began to collapse. After police located the two men Smollett had paid to stage the attack, Abel and Ola Osundairo, and the two brothers admitted their role in the ruse, Smollett maintained his innocence and offered no apology.
Then, after police had collected irrefutable evidence the entire story was a fraud, in a press conference to brief media on the conclusions police had come to in the probe, the then-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson issued a statement saying:
“At the end of the day, it is Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax, period. If he (Smollett) wanted to clear his name, the way to do that is in a court of law so that everyone can see the evidence... I stand by the facts of what we produced.”
Still Jussie offered no apology.
Instead of offering a sincere gesture of remorse, Smollett left Chicagoans in dismay and Chicago police officers in a state of fury. All looked forward to retribution as Jussie was facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct. The police demanded Jussie pay $130,000 for police department time and resources spent. Justice would be served!
However, this is Chicago, where justice is often elusive. To Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, jail time and fines are only reserved for those without connections to ruling elite. Then out of the blue, in a move that exposed the hypocrisy of Foxx’s justice system, all charges were dropped by prosecutor Joe Magats. After all, even if guilty, Jussie had paid his debt to society with community service and a $10,000 bond payment. As part of his sweetheart, back-room plea deal, Smollett was not required to admit wrongdoing. Once again, there was no public apology.
For all the hoopla Smollett’s hoax created, by August 2022, Chicago media ran to Foxx’s defense. In an opinion piece published in the Chicago Tribune by David Sterba and James Vanzant, the two men complained bitterly about how unfairly Joe Magats was treated after his decision to drop charges against Smollett. After all, Kim Foxx had recused herself, and Magats was left with the poisoned case.
“When Magats reviewed the case, he saw a low-level, nonviolent felony charge against a defendant who had no prior felonies. Foxx’s official policies prioritized prosecuting violent crime rather than devoting already-scare resources to low-level, nonviolent cases like Smollett’s. Consistent with these principles, Magats decided to resolve the Smollett case through an informal diversion agreement.”
Funny how Foxx recused herself but achieved the same outcome as if she had not invented a “right” to excuse herself from the matter. Equally amusing is how Sterba and Vanzant justified Magats’ inaction as being due to a policy of avoiding cases that would stretch “already-scarce resources.”
Couldn’t that have been said about the Chicago Police Department also? Chicago Police demanded Smollett be ordered to repay Chicago $130,000 for time and effort investigators had invested in the search for the two MAGA-hat wearing hoodlums. Aghast at the notion of paying the debt for his hoax, Smollett scoffed at the bill.
The outrage of the dropped charges prompted an investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb to look into the handling of the case and whether any misconduct on Foxx’s part occurred or if sufficient evidence to charge Smollett existed. On December 10, 2022, Smollett, who was tried on six counts of disorderly conduct, was found guilty on five charges. Sentenced to five months behind bars, Smollett served only six days before he was freed on appeal. And through it all, Jussie never offered any remorse.
Chicago’s nagging crime problem, long forgotten due to the city being swept up in the Smollett saga, is returning. After all the little games Smollett played, the unrepentant, narcissistic actor and his well-paid lawyers believe that all charges should be dropped. The reasoning? They claim that calling in Dan Webb as a special prosecutor is a form of double jeopardy because Smollett had performed community service and paid a bond of $10,000 in exchange for the charges dropped by Magats. Thus, a trial by a special prosecutor (serving in a private practice) constitutes an infringement on Smollett’s Fifth Amendment rights. If Smollett’s attorneys win this appeal, he will walk without having to serve the rest of his 144 days. Furthermore, Smollett will have made a mockery of our Cook County judicial system. For all of the championing of Magats made by writers at the Tribune, his dropping the ball will result in even higher court costs. In 2023, inflation has made everything more expensive—even appeals. Thanks, Joe!
Most importantly, though, is the unfashionable idea that justice should be served. Smollett had the police chasing their tails, keeping them from helping true victims of crimes, and made Chicago look even more circus-like than the norm.
Speaking for the special prosecutor, attorney Sean Wieber said that double jeopardy is a stretch because there was no guilty plea, nor was there a first trial when the charges were dropped. As quoted in the Associated Press:
“‘It is well established that double jeopardy arises in unambiguous, specific circumstances — none of which applied to Smollett.’”
The proceedings, such as choosing a jury, never materialized following the initial 16 counts. Because no legal proceedings ever occurred, Smollett had never faced double jeopardy when Webb was appointed special prosecutor. A jury of Smollett’s peers carefully weighed arguments and evidence from the defense and prosecution, and still delivered a guilty verdict against Smollett.
Season Four—The Series Finale?
We have been left with quite the cliffhanger. Under normal circumstances, this meritless appeal would be thrown on the top of a trash heap. Instead, the case will tie up courts for weeks, and viewers of this reality show will have to wait breathlessly to see what happens to the antihero.
As of last week, an unnamed source told Fox Digital that Jussie went to rehab to “deal with life in a significant and thoughtful way.” Does this mean he’s finally going to be truthful? Doubtful. It’s a shame Smollett burned bridges in Hollywood; his taxpayer produced, true-crime series "No Place To Go" needs a dramatic ending.
Perhaps the Jussie Smollett saga will be like the iconic television series "Dallas", and we will all awaken from this madness and realize it was nothing more than a dream.