In what must be the most embarrassing news release in the annals of news releases, the public-relations squad that represents disgraced hate hoaxer Jussie Smollett claims that “every iota” of his yarn about a beating by two white MAGA men is true.
The former Empire actor’s image polishers are pushing the claim despite evidence that proves “every iota” is false, except perhaps for Smollett’s own name and that he actually was in Chicago when the mysterious MAGA men, who turned out to be black Nigerians, “attacked” him.
Smollett’s team issued the statement, the Associated Press reported, after the city tendered a filing in its lawsuit that seeks to recoup the cost of the probe that proved Smollett made the whole thing up.
The PR team e-mailed a statement, AP reported, with the following claim: “Every iota of information ... Smollett has stated has been fully corroborated.”
That would mean two white men actually did hurl racial slurs and attack Smollett on January 29 during a 2 a.m. munchies run to Subway. It would mean that they really did douse him with bleach and tie a noose around his neck.
Conversely, it would mean all the evidence police gathered that showed the attack was a hoax, not least video of two black Nigerian bodybuilders buying supplies for the attack, isn’t really evidence of anything. It would mean the $3,500 check Smollett wrote to the two men wasn’t really a check to pay for helping engineer the hoax.
It would mean the Nigerians lied to the grand jury when they admitted their role in the hoax.
It would mean the police and the two Nigerians manufactured evidence to prove Smollett’s claims were false, for what reason we do not know.
In other words, it would mean police made up the whole story.
As AP summarized it, “the city says GPS data, video and other evidence prove Smollett paid the men to fake a hate crime.”
Police speculate that Smollett concocted the idea to wrangle a pay raise for his role on Fox’s Empire. After cops discovered the elaborate if ill-planned ruse, they hit him with 16 felony charges.
Prosecutors suddenly dropped the charges because, they said, Smollett agreed to surrender his $10,000 bond and perform two days of community service. Smollett’s attorney denied that claim, but in any event, the city filed a lawsuit to recover $130,106.15, which is what they city spent in unraveling the poorly conceived plot.
The filing in Cook County Circuit Court accuses Smollett of manufacturing the tale.
“Defendant submitted a false police report claiming that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic beating by unknown attackers,” the lawsuit alleges. “In reality, Defendant knew his attackers and orchestrated the purported attack himself. Later, when police confronted him with evidence about his attackers, he still refused to disclose his involvement in planning the attack. In investigating Defendant’s false statements and false police report, the City incurred significant costs in order to provide services reasonably related to Defendant’s conduct.”
Last week, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb to probe the case, the Tribune and other media reported.
Toomin is the judge who ruled that the case required the special prosecutor because Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself and then appointed her deputy to handle it. Toomin ruled that Foxx did not have the statutory authority to name her own replacement in such a matter.
Indeed, the Tribune noted, Toomin “determined that the entire Smollett case may be legally invalid from start to finish” because of Foxx’s foolish maneuver. “Toomin reached out to more than 100 public prosecuting agencies across the state to see if they would be interested in taking over as special prosecutor. Two county state’s attorneys said they were willing, but neither was equipped to handle the case, Toomin said from the bench.”
Webb, the newspaper reported, “is one of the city’s most distinguished trial lawyers in private practice, having handled a long list of high-profile clients and acted as special prosecutor or in a similar investigative capacity on five other occasions.”
And as a federal prosecutor, he managed the prosecutions that arose from “Operation Greylord,” a three-and-a-half-year probe of judicial corruption in the city in the late 1980s that involved the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Postal Service, and other agencies.
In the end, nearly 100 crooked public officials were convicted.