Smollett attorneys argue ‘even if’ he faked assault, cops didn’t have to be so thorough

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Disgraced Hollywood actor Jussie Smollett’s attorneys have allegedly suggested that even if their client did make up the now-infamous MAGA hat robbery story, it’s not his fault that the Chicago Police Department wasted so much time and so many resources investigating it.

This remarkable claim was allegedly issued in a court filing submitted this week concerning the city’s $130,000 lawsuit against the former “Empire” actor. The city filed the suit earlier this year to recoup the $130,000 that was wasted by local authorities during their pursuit of his alleged attackers.

“[T]he latest court filing contends even if Smollett did make a false report, there is no way the city can assert he would have known the city would investigate — and investigate it to the extent cops did,” the Chicago Sun-Times claimed Wednesday.

“In the legal brief … Smollett makes clear that he ‘disputes any and all assertions that he made a false statement and was not a victim of a crime.’ But even if he did, ‘The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation as extensive as the one the CPD chose to undertake in this case.'”

Note that the most pertinent part of the paragraph above — “But even if he did” — was not included in quotes. This means that the Sun-Times’ columnist who reviewed the actual filing and penned the report had either been paraphrasing the filing or sharing her own interpration of it.

If the narrative is correct though — that Smollett’s attorneys had indeed suggested that it wasn’t their client’s fault “if” he’d lied — then it could spur serious repercussions for him. Why? Because a special prosecutor was assigned last month to reexamine the disgraced actor’s case.

“A judge appointed a special prosecutor Friday to look into why the Chicago state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped the case against Jussie Smollett, leaving open the possibility that the former ‘Empire’ actor could yet face charges in what police say was a phony attack on himself that he staged to get attention,” the Associated Press reported in late August.

“Smollett, who is black and gay, maintains that he was the target of a racist and homophobic attack in January. But if the special prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, determines that the charges shouldn’t have been dropped, he could recommend that they be reinstated or that new charges be brought.”

And fact that Smollett’s attorneys are now tacitly admitting that Smollett may have lied isn’t apt to help them in case Webb does decide to pursue charges against their client.

Nevertheless, one of the actor’s attorneys, William J. Quinlan of The Quinlan Law Firm, is at least continuing to maintain his client’s innocence — while at the same time arguing that Chicago authorities shouldn’t have expended so many resources investigating his allegations.

“My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations,” he reportedly said. “[I]t’s going to be very difficult for the city to prevail in making a case my client should pay for overtime for a case ultimately dismissed by the state’s attorney.”

“It’s ridiculous and a stretch to require him to do so. … We contend the city is wrong. … The mere fact somebody filed a police report doesn’t presume the investigation will be done and certainly not to the extent of what the city is claiming.”

The city vociferously disagrees.

“Whether it’s Chicago or any other U.S. city, when he reported a vicious hate crime, it was going to be investigated at the highest level of vigor and detail,” CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said to Time magazine.

“The investigation included canvassing the area for witnesses, dozens of interviews, scientific analysis of the rope as well as the liquid that Smollett said the men threw at him, and the collection of hours of surveillance video from cameras mounted on buildings, inside taxi cabs and from cameras along miles of city streets.”

As for Smollett’s argument against the suit, it’s just plain “silly,” according to David Erickson, a former state appellate judge who teaches at Chicago Kent College of Law.

“The judge is going to say, ‘Are you kidding me?’” he said to Time magazine.

The only thing that remains unclear is whether the attorneys did explicitly write something in their filing along the lines of “But even if he did.”

What’s known is that the author of Sun-Times’ report, Michael Sneed, is a former gossip columnist with the Chicago Tribune. Moreover, in 2007 she reportedly ran a report that erroneously identified the Virginia Tech massacre shooter as a Chinese national.

“The Sun-Times touched off a furor when it reported that authorities were investigating whether a Chinese nationalist committed the killings on campus,” CBS News reported at the time. “The shootings left 33 people dead; the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, a student of South Korean descent, apparently shot himself.”

“Editor Michael Cooke and Managing Editor Don Hayner vigorously defended the performance of their paper and its columnist, Michael Sneed. I spoke separately with Cooke and Hayner on Friday and e-mailed and called Sneed, the woman at the center of the storm. She declined to reply.”

It’s unclear whether the Sun-Times plans to publicly release a copy of the actual filing so that others may analyze it for themselves.


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Vivek Saxena


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