Continuing the back and forth that has raged between police, media, government officials and defenders of actor Jussie Smollett since hate hoax charges were dropped, his attorney Patrica Brown Holmes has issued a statement condemning the local authorities in Chicago.
Calling the ongoing dispute a “smear campaign,” Brown Holmes said she was “disappointed” that authorities have continued to question the Smollett decision by the Assistant State Attorney General to drop the case.
Smollett will forfeit his bond of $10,000 and do some community service as part of the case’s disposition. Officials include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Police Superintendant Eddie Johnson have expressed outrage at the penalties after Smollett faced 16 felony counts.
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“We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped. The facts are clear. The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights.
“Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Mr. Smollett is entitled to the same Constitutional protections as any citizen charged by the government with a crime— including the right to speak freely about his innocence, the right to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and the right to hold the State to its burden of proving him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Brown continued: “None of that has occurred in this case. We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office, state and local law, Supreme Court Rules on Trial Publicity as well as the Rules of Professional Responsibility for lawyers and prosecutors. We will not try this case in a court of public opinion. There is no case to try. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”
The Cook County State Attorney’s Office also issued a statement on its disposition, claiming that it had referred more than 5,700 cases for “alternative prosecution” in the last two years. This is not a new or unusual practice.”
It added: “An alternative disposition does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities with the case or the evidence.”
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