Lock him up!
The FBI and Justice Department are investigating the shocking, inexplicable dismissal of a Chicago grand jury’s 16 felony counts against actor Jussie Smollett. The charges could have cost serious prison time for a ham-handed hoax in which Smollett allegedly paid two body-building brothers to attack him and blame it on supporters of President Donald Trump.
Dueling demonstrations brought this simmering controversy to an even higher boil this week: The local Fraternal Order of Police protested Cook County state attorney Kim Foxx’s velvet treatment of Smollett. Meanwhile, the Reverend Jesse Jackson rallied those who, somehow, still believe the “Empire” cast member’s story.
Smollett, 36, claimed that he walked through Streeterville, his fashionable neighborhood, at about 2 a.m. on January 29. The area was unusually empty, thanks to a polar vortex that had driven temperatures to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of 4 below zero. Nonetheless two white, masked men concisely called the gay, black thespian an “Empire f—– n—–” Smollett said that they loosely placed a white rope around his neck, doused him with bleach, and then declared: “This is MAGA country”— startling news in a city that went just 12.5 percent for Trump.
As this bizarre tragicomedy unfolded, police acquired a canceled personal check from Smollett to Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, two sculpted American brothers of Nigerian descent. The $3,500 payment ostensibly financed workout services. Closed-circuit TV captured the Osundairos buying rope and ski masks — under which, Smollett’s attorneys insist, they wore whiteface.