Jussie Smollett walked away from the criminal charges by Chicago Courtroom. However, Chicago Police are not satisfied with the verdict on the alleged staged hate crime dropped. The “Empire” star may still face both federal charges and civil lawsuits in connection to the scandal.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney dropped 16 felony counts against the actor stemming from his allegedly false police report about a hate attack he claimed to have suffered on Jan. 29.
According to Andrew Weisberg a Former Cook County prosecutor-turned-criminal-defense-attorney, Smollett’s case is unusual for several reasons. He Told Fox News, most notably the speed at which his charges were dismissed were abnormal. Smollett was indicted on March 8 and his charges were dismissed on March 26.
“It was such a quick turnaround. Pretrial diversions are usually a year long, and this happened so quickly,” Weisberg said, adding that he suspects the case’s notoriety accelerated the proceedings.
Weisberg, who was working in the courthouse the day the dismissal was announced, was baffled by the proceedings. He continued, “I figured they had a plea agreement and I was shocked when I heard the dismissal”. “I can’t figure it out. I don’t think it’s anything corrupt or anything terrible — but it’s an unusually great outcome for [Smollett].”
Weisberg explained that in a best-case scenario for similar false police report cases that he’s worked on, the defendant will get deferred prosecution, but that it’s still somewhat rare because of the amount of work police put in to investigate claims. In most cases, he said, a defendant may be sentenced to probation and have to pay restitution to the cover city’s estimated expenses.
In one similar case he recently worked on, Weisberg said that police told prosecutors they put in too much work to drop the charges and that the city estimated the expenses to investigate the false claim amounted to about $8,400 for three detectives in a single day’s work. “In [Smollett’s] case, they put in 10 times the work. This would cost [the city] hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.” The question is hould Smollet suffer consequences based on the choice of Chicago Police’s hard work?
Weisberg says the results of Smollet’s case will result in future court cases in the city. “A lot of criminal defense lawyers are the ones who will bring this [case] up and ask for similar treatment.”
Smollett also may face federal charges of mail fraud, as the FBI is investigating whether or not he also sent himself hate mail laced with white powder a week before the alleged attack occurred. If convicted, Smollett could face up to a decade in prison.
According to reports,Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also considering suing the actor to recoup some of the money the city wasted on the lengthy investigation.
Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown-Holmes, said in a press conference Tuesday that it was not a deferred prosecution and that the records in the case were sealed.