Legal professionals, police officials, politicians, reporters, and ordinary citizens are still befuddled at the decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx yesterday to drop the charges related to lying to the police against actor Jussie Smollett.
But, as Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass points out, why should anyone be surprised? It is Chicago, after all.
You might say Foxx is bathing him in the waters of the Chicago Way, cleansing him, and making a new man out of him.
And now he’s smirking at the city, the mayor, the cops, everyone. Can’t wait until he files that multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
That “cleansing” included the sealing of Smollett’s records in the case. But there’s more. As ABC’s Terry Moran tweeted, the entire Smollett file has disappeared:
Cook County clerk’s office tells @ABC they were shocked that no written motions were filed with the court in connection with today’s surprising dismissal in the Smollett case. On top of that, the case has been wiped off their database as if it never existed. pic.twitter.com/KFKJp9yt7h
— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) March 27, 2019
“Foxx(‘s deal) expunged it all,” said a top Chicago police official. “The media’s really not focusing on that. What does it mean? It means you’ll never see the (police) interviews or read the notes.
“The case (will be) expunged. I can’t even tell you if Jussie Smollett was ever arrested or charged,” the official said. “Charged with what? Faking hate crimes? Indictments, what indictments?”
Indeed, former Chicago prosecutor Andrew Weisberg told Fox News that “A lot of criminal defense lawyers are the ones who will bring this [case] up and ask for similar treatment.”
Thank you, Kim Foxx.
For her part, Foxx botched the entire affair, communicating with one of the Obamas’ Chicago fixers, Tina Tchen, who urged Foxx to get the police to hand off the investigation to the FBI. Foxx also contacted a “relative” of Smollett. Michelle Malkin reports that “relative” was almost certainly Smollett’s politically connected sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell:
—Tchen and Smollett’s sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, joined together in March 2018 at South by Southwest in Austin to proclaim that “There Is No Time’s Up Without Women Of Color.”
—In May 2018, Tchen and Smollett-Bell took the stage together again—hand-in-hand, glued at the hip—at the United State of Women Summit in Los Angeles (where Tchen’s former boss and gal pal, Michelle Obama, also appeared).
—Smollett-Bell and another sister, Jazz Smollett-Warwell, worked for the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and volunteered as tireless surrogates.
—My search of White House visitor logs shows Jurnee Smollett-Bell paying at least one personal visit to “POTUS/FLOTUS” at their residence in March 2013 while Tchen was serving as a top strategist to both Obamas.
To minimize Tchen’s role in the Obamas’ political lives as merely an “aide” is journalistic malpractice.
Given Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s hand-holding friendship with Tchen, Tchen’s intimacy with the Obamas, and Michelle Obama’s chumminess with Jussie Smollett (she hosted him at a musical event at the White House in 2016 and danced with him on stage at a College Signing Day Event in 2018), it is not unreasonable to wonder how much direct knowledge the Obamas themselves may have had about Tchen’s role as Smollett’s fixer.
This is the Chicago Way writ large. The entire affair stinks of influence peddling by some very powerful, well-connected people who shockingly and brazenly interfered in the judicial process. But this is what any connected regular Democratic Party member can expect if they run afoul of the law in Chicago.
Foxx’s close connections to Cook County Democratic Party boss Toni Preckwinkle may also have played a role in the Smollett case. Preckwinkle is president of the Cook County Board and played a key role in getting Foxx elected. It’s reasonable to assume that Preckwinkle also came under some pressure to lean on Foxx to “fix” the Smollett outcome.
Preckwinkle is also running in Tuesday’s mayoral election. And so it goes in Chicago.