Smollett’s hoax was itself a hate crime

The victims of actor Jussie Smollett’s hoax are people who deal with bias and hate in their daily lives.

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Jussie Smollett

Cook County Sheriff’s Office

How can Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx possibly ignore the damage done by Jussie Smollett’s hoax? When Chicago was still reeling from the looting and violence that followed George Floyd’s murder, pretending to be a victim of a hate crime was itself a hate crime.

The victims of Smollett’s hoax are people who deal with bias and hate in their daily lives. There is no denying hateful actions still exist. I do not believe that two wrongs make a right, and there is no excuse for crime on persons or property in the name of exacting justice.

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Perhaps in Smollett’s small mind he was just trying to give his career a boost with what he saw as an innocent publicity stunt. Foxx, on the other hand, is trying to climb the ladder by pandering to those she thinks can elevate her. The voters should take this as a wake-up call.

Jackie Brennan, Avondale

Smollett treated more harshly

“The hypocrisy is just astounding,” proclaimed Judge James Linn when he sentenced disgraced actor Jussie Smollett. Linn is correct.

When Special Prosecutor Dan Webb took the supposed high ground to investigate the unusual manner in which Smollett’s 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct were abruptly dropped, he surmised that Smollett had been treated differently than other defendants. He believed the popular actor had somehow curried favor with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to receive a magical deal.

Rather than even-handedly prosecuting Smollett, one extraordinary measure after the other was taken to convict him of lying. Millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on the longest disorderly conduct trial in Illinois history.

The public was barred from the courtroom for jury selection. The public was intermittently barred from the proceedings throughout the trial due to arbitrary application of COVID-19 restrictions. Cameras were banned for the trial but allowed in for an Oscar-worthy sentencing hearing.

Even Smolllett’s sentence was a departure from the norms, beginning with Webb asking for 15 years on a charge that only carries one to three years.

Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County Jail, over $120,000 in restitution, the maximum fine of $25,000 and 30 months of probation. His probation will last nearly as long as Jason Van Dyke’s prison sentence for murdering teenager Laquan McDonald.

False allegations of cross-racial attacks like Smollett’s are not uncommon. Most are never charged. Here, false police report cases usually result in community service on misdemeanor charges.

In “Crook County,” where cops are known for “testi-lying” with impunity, where the top cop who investigated Smollett is now also jobless due to lying, probation alone would have been a fitting resolution.

Yes, the hypocrisy is astounding.

April Preyar, criminal defense attorney, Chicago

Smollett and Vanecko

Jussie Smollett gets 150 days in jail for lying, while Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew, Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, got 60 days in jail for manslaughter. And this is after Daley and the Chicago Police Department covered up the manslaughter for eight years.

Special Prosecutor Dan K. Webb should be ashamed of himself, and should have spared Smollett any time in jail. Yes, he was an idiot and wasted city resources. (Sounds a lot like City Council.) Make him pay restitution and put him on probation. His life is already ruined, as the judge remarked. I wonder how Daley’s nephew is doing these days.

Jack Pace, Tucson, Arizona (formerly of Chicago)

Smollett the ‘victim’

How nice that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was given the forum (“In Jussie Smollett case, our justice system failed”) to tell us she did everything by the book in the Jussie Smollett case.

I noticed she conveniently left out the part about time and resources spent by Chicago police investigating the crime. Perhaps they could have been using that time and resources to stem the rising crime she talks about.

I am sorry she was attacked for “fighting to create a more just system.” While it is true Smollett’s offense was non-violent, what he did was stoke the fires of an already out-of- control fire of racial intolerance.

His true crime was making himself the “victim” of a false hate crime and to continue denying it to the end. Smollett could have ended the charade by admitting his guilt and saved all of us a great deal of time and effort.

David Bohac, Willow Springs

A hoax at the worst time

Jussie Smollett is in jail because when our country was in the middle of an inferno of racial tensions, he threw gasoline on that fire, again and again. As Judge James Linn said, Smollett “doubled down” over and over.

He, his supporters and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx refuse to take responsibility for their actions that brought us to this point. It was a faked hate crime, at the worst possible time, and Smollett compounded his mistakes by continuously appearing on TV to continue the charade.

I hope he makes the most of 150 days in jail by seeing the error of his ways.

Mike Kirchberg, Little Italy

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