When a Cook County, Illinois, grand jury handed special prosecutor Dan Webb a six-count indictment against former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, it sent ripples of waves in several directions.
First, Smollett is staring at the prospects of being sent to prison for up to three years if he is convicted on all charges of lying to the Chicago Police Department.
Secondly, the indictment comes on the eve of the re-election of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. As rolling out reported, Foxx decided to drop all 16 felony charges against Smollett in 2019, citing lack of evidence. Some speculate that having a special prosecutor come in and review and reverse her decision could imperil Foxx’s re-election chances and future political career.
Thirdly, the show that Smollett starred on, “Empire,” was a worldwide rating and cultural blockbuster before this scandal made the show go down in flames. Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, for example, said the Fox drama made her a household name across the globe for the first time in her career.
But now, the Fox show will most likely be remembered for the Smollett scandal rather than the launching pad for many careers.
Smollett’s attorney is repulsed by the indictment of Smollett and says politics were behind the efforts to prosecute the beleaguered actor again.
Smollett’s attorney, Tina Glandian, released a statement saying the new charges call into question the fairness of the investigation, according to USA Today.
“This indictment raises serious questions about the integrity of the investigation that led to the renewed charges against Mr. Smollett, not the least of which is the use of the same CPD detectives who were part of the original investigation into the attack on Mr. Smollett to conduct the current investigation, despite Mr. Smollett’s pending civil claims against the City of Chicago and CPD officers for malicious prosecution,” she said.
Glandian added “the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence.”