Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s new mayor-elect, hasn’t had time to settle in to her new job, yet she’s already been hit with questions about the Jussie Smollett case.
Lightfoot, who has never held public office, was elected this past week; and many are wondering about her experience to lead one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
The Smollett case has ended, with little-to-no punishment for a race-hate hoax that could have destroyed a city — yet Lightfoot said she still has questions about why the charges against Smollett (shown above right) were dropped.
She also has reached out to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for more information about why the case against the actor was abandoned.
I can understand a plea deal in which he admits guilt, is sentenced to probation, and is fined. No way should those charges have been dropped, in my view.
“The State’s Attorney’s office here, which made the decision unilaterally to drop the charges, has to give a much more fulsome explanation,” Lightfoot said during an interview with Craig Melvin on MSNBC Wednesday. “We cannot create the perception that if you’re rich or famous or both that you got one set of justice — and for everybody else it’s something much harsher. That won’t do and we need to make sure that we have a criminal justice system that has integrity.”
When asked point-blank by Melvin about whether she thought Smollett was innocent, Lightfoot hedged but said the evidence did not suggest that conclusion.
“I believe that everybody is entitled to a presumption of innocence,” she said. “But I saw — as I’m sure you and your listeners saw — a very compelling case, with video tapes, witness statement and other information that looked like he had staged a hoax, and if that happened he’s got to be held accountable.” (source: The Wrap)
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It seems to me that everyone but this prosecutor saw the same thing — that there was enough evidence to prosecute.
Maybe somebody should look at this guy’s bank account and see if he didn’t deposit a large amount of money recently.
Mayor Lightfoot could gain enormous respect if she makes sure Smollett is held accountable, as it seems everyone can agree that he does indeed need to be held accountable.
This will be Lightfoot’s first major test as mayor.
How she handles this situation will go a long way toward showing the country whether or not she’s willing to take on the corruption and ineptitude in Chicago politics. It’ll be interesting, to say the least.
I know a lot of people are discussing the plea deal. And while I’m not a legal expert, my question is why seal the documents and the case? The sealing of his record is what smells rotten to me (in addition to the plea deal with so much evidence available).
We’ll see if Lightfoot changes her tune. She is right, of course, that what happened with Smollett was a travesty of justice — but once she gets into office and the bribes start flowing, we’ll see how incorruptible she is.
This piece originally appeared in WayneDupree.com and is used by permission.
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