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EDITORIAL: Moving on from Jussie Smollett

Rahm Emanuel (left) is demanding actor Jussie Smollett pay back the city for the cost of the investigation into a hate crime that police say was a hoax. | Sun-Times photos by Mitch Armentrout and Ashlee Rezin

Now Mayor Rahm Emanuel is threatening to sue Jussie Smollett.

That’ll teach him, huh?

OK, so maybe a lawsuit by the city mildly makes sense, given how much money the Chicago police wasted — an estimated $130,000 — investigating what now looks like an entirely bogus, faked-up hate crime. And given Smollett’s annoying refusal to admit he made it all up.

He certainly owes Chicago an apology.

But this story is so small in the scheme of things, and the outrage is so overblown, and we are so ready to move on.

If Smollett hasn’t learned to be a mensch by now, he never will.

Go ahead and sue, Rahm. Squeeze the goofy TV actor for the cost to the city of investigating his story of being attacked by anti-gay racists. Have at it. This wouldn’t be the first such suit the city has filed.

TIMELINE: The Jussie Smollett investigation

But everybody knows the damage is done. The office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx permanently botched the case, sending a bad message about equal justice under the law, when it dropped all charges against Smollett without even demanding that he admit he lied. All he was required to do is forfeit $10,000.

Nobody with a sense of proportion has ever wanted Smollett to be severely punished. He’s not a dangerous young man, just foolish. But why didn’t Foxx’s office at least demand a confession?

Funny how money, a team of lawyers and celebrityhood can put a thumb on the scales of justice.

As long as Smollett fails to confess, his crime continues.

But wait. Here we go again, getting all worked up even as we write this editorial.

We really need to move on, too.

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