by Brian Hayes
Actor and alleged racial hoax artist Jussie Smollett was arrested and booked by Chicago detectives Thursday morning, after a week of his web of deceit being exposed to the nation.
The sympathetic media, which at once believed his preposterous claims, is now trying to excuse him so he gets off easy. Just this morning, CNN’s Don Lemon actually tried and call it a “youthful, naive mistake” (um, he’s 36, Don), or as MSNBC host Joe Reid claimed that he was “influenced by the hate that the president is ginning up.” Seriously?
And the same media is trying to make it out like Smollett is only facing a 4th degree felony disorderly conduct charge for filing a false police claim.
But it’s much worse than that.
In short, the “Empire” actor could face more than a decade in prison if charged with and convicted of staging two alleged hate crime incidents against himself.
Smollett claimed that he was attacked by two masked men who made racist and anti-gay comments, put a rope around his neck, and threw bleach on him. But Chicago detectives are presenting information to a Cook County grand jury that they believe shows he misled
A spokesman for police said Wednesday evening that felony criminal charges have been approved for filing a false police report. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” the spokesman said.
Under Illinois state law, filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony which carries a sentence of one to three years in prison.
But Smollett and any possible accomplices could also face other local charges related to the possible hoax attack, including:
- Making a false 911 call about the staged incident — A friend of Smollett’s allegedly called 911, which, if he knowingly conveyed false information, is also a Class 4 felony in Illinois and could lead to a prison sentence of one to three years.
- Obstruction of justice — Smollett could face further charges if he was deemed to be “concealing or disguising physical evidence, planting false evidence, or furnishing false information,” which could mean another one to three years in prison.
- Conspiracy — Smollett could plausibly also be charged with this crime if prosecutors believe there was “intent that an offense be committed” along with “agreement with another to the commission of that offense” — an additional Class 4 felony with a prison sentence of one to three years in prison.
In late January, Smollett said he received a racist, threatening letter containing a white powdery substance, later thought to be harmless only after HAZMAT was called to the scene. The two brothers believed to be involved in the alleged staging of the physical assault on Smollett have reportedly told police that the fake attack happened only after this threatening letter didn’t get a “bigger reaction.” This incident is reportedly being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service.
If federal authorities determine that the letter was itself an anthrax hoax or mail threat staged by Smollett, he could face further charges from federal prosecutors in addition to those being brought by Cook County, including:
- Mailing threatening communications — If federal investigators believe Smollett was involved with mailing himself the threatening letter, then it is possible that he could be charged with mailing threatening communications, which consists of “knowingly so depositing or causing to be delivered … any communication … addressed to any other person and containing any threat to injure the person of the addressee or of another” and can result in imprisonment of up to five years.
- Additional federal charges related to hoax threats (up to five years in prison), conspiracy (up to five years in prison), and obstruction of justice (with a variety of penalties) could all also potentially come into play if Smollett is determined to have carried out the mail threat hoax too.
Additionally, despite the media’s attempts to try to gain leniency for Smollett, recall that this would not be his first conviction. As 24News previously reported, Smollett in 2007 was convicted of lying to police after a DUI in 2007, when he told authorities he was his younger brother.
Any judge is not going to look kindly on a repeat offender, who was so blithely willing to start a race war to advance his own career.