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HORIST: Smollett creates the biggest little controversy

HORIST: Smollett creates the biggest little controversy

On the surface, it seems like a rather simple case.  A black gay guy claims he was mugged and beaten by a couple of homophobic white supremacists who said “This is MAGA country” – suggesting that the low-life white guys were supporters of President Trump.  They hung a noose around his neck for emphasis. This crime on the streets of Chicago would likely have gone unnoticed on the national scene except for a few significant elements.

First and foremost, the “victim” was a semi-prominent black actor named Jussie Smollett, who had a recurring role on “The Empire.”  This made it fodder for the left-wing politically-correct adherents.  Smollett was black, gay and Hollywood – and he was accusing guys who were supposedly white, conservative and Trump supporters.  For the record, Smollett is bi-racial. His father is white and Jewish.  But he is still a “person of color” as far as the far left is concerned.

Not to miss a golden opportunity for cheap-shot politics, Democrats – especially that platoon of presidential candidates – tumbled over each other to get to the cameras to provide responses.  According to the talking points, this was yet another example of the toxic civic environment created by President Trump.  His followers were thugs, who he unleashed on the nation.  It was more evidence of the rampant homophobia and racism they claim abounds from sea to shining sea – woven into the very culture of American society.  They expressed their sympathy for Smollett – including a few crocodile tears.  They hyperbolically called it “a modern-day lynching.”

Now, even that story may have faded from the news reports in a few days, but then came a game changer.  Suspicions began to develop.  Evidence came out that suggested that Smollett was the perpetrator of a fraud and we the people were the actual victims.

The police did a far better job than Smollett could have ever anticipated.  They found the guys who participated in that bit of street theater scripted by Smollett. It turned out that his co-conspirators were a couple of Nigerian brothers who served as personal trainers for Smollett – and in one case, worked on the set of “The Empire.”  They fessed up.

Police held a press conference to share some of their evidence – and it was compelling.  Not only did they find the guys, but they had security videos of them purchasing the props for the production.  Smollett – in a display of mental deficiency – paid his fellow thespians by check and the police had it.  This led to a 16-count indictment by a grand jury.

Smollett’s previous friends on the left split into two groups.  On one side were those who were pissed.  They were made to look like fools, and they did not like it.  On the other side were the progressive stone-heads who grasped at ridiculous hypotheses to maintain Smollett as a cultural victim of some sort.  Maybe something to do with President Andrew Jackson mistreating slaves in the mid-1800s.  Or the tension of living in a mostly white luxury apartment in Chicago.

The path forward seemed clear.  There would be a trial and Smollett would likely have been convicted on a number of the charges.  While he potentially faced many years in jail due to the seriousness of his crime, he would likely get a very light sentence because he is a celebrity, after all.  Most blacks who fall into the criminal justice system in Chicago are not so lucky.

Just as you think things are settling down, there was yet another bizarre game changer.  The prosecutors announce that they are dropping all charges.  Smollett had to forfeit his $10,000 bond and do community service at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters.  Does signing autographs and posing for photos qualify as community service?  In this case, probably.

Prosecutors still maintain Smollett is guilty as Hell, but there would be no charges, no confession, no admission of guilt, no expression of remorse – which are a part of any such plea agreement.  But not for Smollett.  He walked out of court and arrogantly declared his innocence despite all that incriminating evidence that lingers in the public sphere like silent flatulence at a funeral.

Well, you can imagine the reaction of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his police chief.  Actually, you do not have to imagine.  They came out with angry statements against the prosecutors.  It was a travesty of justice.  The head of the police union called for a federal investigation since there were a couple of federal laws broken by Smollett.  The feds were already on the case when President Trump chimed in.  He was all for the federal investigation.

Trump’s assurance that the Department of Justice would investigate got a strange response from Emanuel.  Based on the facts, it might appear to the rational observer that the Mayor and the President were on the same side – mutually outraged.  But in these days of the #NeverTrump Resistance Movement no Democrat can be on the side of the President at any time for any reason.  Soooo, Emanuel twists reality and common sense to blast the President for creating the toxic atmosphere that would cause Smollett to do such a dastardly thing.  Yep!  It was ALL caused by Trump.  Where have we heard that song before?

Of course, Emanuel’s partisan spin did not answer the central question.  Why did the prosecutors toss the case?  Where was the highly touted rule-of-law and the principle that no man is above the law?

The best explanation they could come up with to explain the inexplicable was that Smollett is a nice guy.  The “nice guy” defense strategy is not usually applied to folks indicted for serious crimes – or even not so serious crimes.  Prosecutors assured the public that Smollett would never do such a thing again – although he did fake the mugging only after a previous attempt to get attention by faking a threatening letter with a “mysterious” powder failed to get a big response.  And then there was that DUI case in which Smollett gave arresting officers a fake identity.  Just what one can expect of a “nice guy.”

In another strange action, the court that blessed the agreement sealed the case.  The judiciary did not want the press and the public to see the evidence.  The judge was not only protecting Smollett.  More importantly, she was putting up a fig leaf on the otherwise bare body of the prosecution.  Seeing the detail might make them all look bad.

Then there was that phone call from Michelle Obama’s chief-of-staff Tina Tchen to the Cook County States’ Attorney Kim Foxx to show support for Smollett.  I wonder how many times Tchen has called prosecutors to go easy on a black guy in Chicago.  Or, is this a use of the celebrity hotline?

Foxx is the prosecutor who announced that she had recused herself because she had associations with key individuals in the case — and later said she did not.  Foxx is cozy with such Smollett champions as presidential candidate Kamala Harris.  The explanation for the recusal reversal comes short of satisfying.  Her spokespeople said that when she said she had recused herself, it was in the “colloquial” sense of the word, not the “legal” sense.  What in God’s name is the colloquial meaning of the word “recuse” when stated by the top LEGAL officer?  (Ooops! Sorry.  I seemed to have slipped into rational thinking.)

Those denying that Smollett got celebrity-level justice have about as much credibility as Smollett, himself.  But the Smollett saga is not yet over.  He may lose more money than that $10,000 bail bond.  Seems the city is sending Smollett a bill for $130,000 for the expense of the unnecessary investigation that took police off the pursuit of real crimes.  If he does not pay, will Chicago file a civil suit?  If they do not, they are fools – but so far this case has been a ship of fools.

And then there is that federal case.  He might have been better off admitting guilt and saying “sorry.”  Now Smollett has made himself a bit of a pariah within the prosecutorial community outside of Chicago – and the feds can be bigger and badder than those local folks.  This drama may have a sequel – maybe even a mini-series.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. steve

    He should go to jail…period

  2. Harvey Popp

    How many years in jail do you think you or me would get. What the hell is this country coming to? No wonder our young kids act like they do, look what they see. Its going to take a big effort but I think us everyday hard working people can fix this, we just have to keep the faith and keep doing the right thing. But most of all we have to speak out, its past time to live and let live, we must be heard. Praise God

  3. Robert Gagliardi

    Good! Jussie Smollette should have Apologized to all,right away.Then the least penalty given.Community service and a record of what he did.Now its gone way beyond.I,as a straight white man,am very angered by the Ploy of his actions.We have enough differences between black and white as it is.I hold No ill feelings for any man.We are All Equal in the Eyes of Jesus.I Wish The Dems would stop trying to say get along with each other,when They actually are trying to Separate Black and White.Hopefully a Black Man can someday say My White brothers in Society are Not the Problem.The Problem lies in Our Govt.There,the Black and White Politicians are the ones Creating Division between us.”WAKE UP AMERICA”!!!!!

  4. William

    This story will not go away! Every time the term “MAGA” is used to malign President Trump, this story will be used to prove the allegations of racial hatred against blacks false!!! Every time someone says President trump is racist or homophobic, this story will be used to prove that it’s the Democrats narrative and not the truth! This is not the only story, there are so many that it has become obvious that it’s the Dems way of turning people against our President!!!

  5. Bill Cash

    The law enforcement investigation was not a “half-cocked” deal. They put it together right. He “got off” with money, much money and I sincerely hope those responsible will be thoroughly investigated. What those POS have done is put law enforcement in a situation where the street thugs know they can beat the system.

  6. Ed Lane

    It will be a great day when most of our Government would STOP this ever growing divide between the American people,
    Smollett has tried to put himself above, his race, just for a dollar.

  7. Barbara

    Why aren’t they prosecuting him white collar blue collar crimes are crimes prosecute they would me