Trump asks federal authorities to review Smollett case

Apr 02, 2019, 00:35
Trump asks federal authorities to review Smollett case

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice (DOJ) would review actor Jussie Smollett's case, calling it "an embarrassment to our nation".

Police initially treated the incident as a hate crime, but their focus turned to Smollett after the two brothers who were alleged to have been his attackers told police that Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack, with a promise of an additional $500 later.

The public outcry forced State's Attorney Kim Foxx to say that the files must have been sealed "inadvertently" and that they would "probably" be unsealed. Denying the claims of fraud, he maintained that on January 29, two men beat him, poured bleach on him and placed a rope around his neck before yelling, "This is MAGA country" (a blunt reference to Trump's campaign slogan "Make American Great Again").

Tina Glandian, one of his defense lawyers, told NBC News on Thursday that she was not concerned by the review.

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Foxx later recused herself from the investigation. In a statement reported by Deadline, Holmes said, "We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped". 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.

It seems so. Fox Entertainment, which produces Empire said: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed". Foxx then called Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to ask him to let the FBI investigate the alleged attack. The case was then handed to First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats.

If the case had gone to trial, Foxx said, Smollett never would have received a prison term because the 16 charges were the lowest possible form of felony.

Email and text messages that Foxx's office provided to the Chicago Sun-Times show Tchen contacted Foxx to set up a telephone conversation with the Smollett relative.

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But in Smollett's case, some say they did not go far enough. She did not address the ($10,000) bond Cook county had retained from Smollett, or why prosecutors saw fit to mention the actor's volunteer service.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the dropping of the charges was a "whitewash of justice".

The Justice Department sometimes brings federal cases after state prosecutors have declined to file charges, including after police shootings that the federal government believes might constitute civil rights violations.

"I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one", he said.

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