The nation was shocked and disgusted on Tuesday when it was announced, without any prior warning, that the Chicago state’s attorney’s office had dropped all felony charges against actor Jussie Smollett and, save for the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond, essentially allowed him to walk away free from an alleged hate crime hoax.
On top of that, the files and court records associated with the Smollett case were ordered sealed from the public, and virtually all traces of the case were expunged as if nothing had ever happened.
Given the meager reasoning and excuses offered up by prosecutors, paired with Smollett’s decidedly unapologetic attitude — he still maintains he was an innocent victim of a hate crime — there has been an abundance of speculation and theorizing as to what exactly led to the stunning development.
Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett, who used to work as a prosecutor in Chicago, suggested in a tweet on Wednesday that someone very important and influential had most likely pulled strings with the prosecutors to not only allow Smollett to go free without any punishment but had also leaned on the state’s attorney’s office to cover everything up to prevent said important person from potentially being implicated in the matter.
None of this is normal—even for Crook County where I was an Assistant State’s Attorney. Educated guess: this hoax implicated someone very important who had pull with the State’s Attorney, and who very badly did not want to be implicated. https://t.co/HyACqBMGoW
— Randy Barnett (@RandyEBarnett) March 27, 2019
Barnett tweeted, “None of this is normal — even for Crook County where I was an Assistant State’s Attorney. Educated guess: this hoax implicated someone very important who had pull with the State’s Attorney, and who very badly did not want to be implicated.”
Speculation ran wild in the comments on that tweet, with the name most often mentioned being that of prominent 2020 candidate and Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, who was one of the first of many elected politicians and famous celebrities that rushed to judgment when Smollett first claimed to have been a victim of a hate crime.
Harris had tweeted — the tweet has yet to be deleted — the day of the alleged attack that Smollett had been the victim of an “attempted modern day lynching.” That particular phrase is notable, considering Harris had been pushing proposed legislation that would make lynchings a federal hate crime offense at that time, which has prompted some to theorize the hoax was intended to spur the necessary outrage in support of the bill.
Furthermore, it is known that there are personal and political ties between Harris and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, as well as with Smollett, which would certainly suggest a conflict of interest at the very least.
Another VIP, actually a couple, that could be implicated in the Smollett ordeal are former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama, who are said to be personal friends — or at the very least well-acquainted — with Smollett. The first lady’s former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, has been exposed via text messages and emails as having contacted Foxx early on in the investigation in what appeared to be an effort to quash or otherwise rig the investigation in Smollett’s favor.
Then there is the ultra-liberal billionaire and progressive financier George Soros, who was recently revealed as having been a significant monetary back of Foxx when she ran for office to be state’s attorney. Soros donated a total of $408,000 to a Super PAC known as Illinois Safety & Justice, which was in turn affiliated with the Friends of Foxx campaign committee.
That donation from Soros was but a mere part of a much broader effort to back progressive candidates for district and state attorney’s offices with a focus on leftist social justice ideals instead of a commitment to uphold actual justice and the rule of law.
Of course, it is entirely plausible that the important figure that wanted to avoid implication in the Smollett case may very well have been Foxx herself, as the aforementioned correspondence with Tchen had initially been revealed a week or so ago and prompted questions about her impartiality.
Making matters worse, following an initial show by Foxx of “recusing” herself from the Smollett prosecution and handing it off to an assistant prosecutor, it has now been shown that she never officially recused herself at all. According to state law, had Foxx truly recused herself, the case would have been handed over to a special prosecutor appointed by the state, not merely shifted to an assistant within her office, which is actually normal procedure for the vast majority of cases.
Needless to say, the manner in which Foxx has handled — or rather, mishandled — the Smollett case from start to finish has earned her a sharp rebuke from the National District Attorneys Association, which called out Foxx for the obvious special treatment her office gave a celebrity that wouldn’t otherwise be extended to less famous defendants facing similar charges.
In the end, we may never know if there was some very important person behind the scenes that pulled Foxx’s strings with regard to Smollett, should the case remain closed and all files sealed. However, given the fact that the FBI is reportedly now taking a close look at how the case was handled, there could very well be some VIPs sweating anxiously at the thought of being implicated in the cover-up of a hate crime hoax.
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