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The Ignoble Machinations of Jussie Smollett

So here it is – “Empire” actor and hate crime hoax subject, Jussie Smollett has turned himself into the Chicago police.

It has been a long, publicity-fueled few weeks, since the alleged January 29 attack on Smollett.

The attack that never happened, that is.

A lot of publicity was generated for Smollett over his pitiful tale of being targeted for his race and sexual orientation.

The grand majority of those who came to his defense have yet to retract their earlier support, or to call out the harm it does to cry “Wolf!” in such a manner.

No matter.

The law has done its job, and Smollett will face the music for his crime – which is exactly what this was. It was a crime.

In a Thursday press conference, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted Smollett, and revealed the true purpose of such a ridiculous fraud.

Money.

Specifically, he wanted more of it, and it didn’t care if he had to waste law enforcement resources, exacerbate race relations, or damage the dialogue between the heterosexual and homosexual community to get it.

It began before the [lie] alleged “attack” on January 29.

A week earlier, Smollett received what appeared to be a threat letter, with individually cut out letters to make up the text, and an envelope containing a white substance, that turned out to be crushed aspirin.

I’m sure he felt that would be a clever way to set up the coming “attack.” Authorities now say he sent the letter to himself, at the production offices of the television show.

Smollett paid two brothers he knew $3,500 to fake the attack in the 300 block of East North Water Street around 2 a.m. Jan. 29, Johnson said, adding that detectives have the check for the money. The superintendent called the scheme “shameful” and wondered how an African-American could set up a racist attack for a “publicity stunt.”

When investigators figured out the real motive behind the attack, “quite frankly, it pissed everybody off,” Johnson said. “ ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.

“It’s just despicable,” he said. “It makes you wonder what’s going on in someone’s mind to be able to do something like that.”

Some people have a level of selfishness that overrides anything they may have resembling commonsense.

Johnson began his news conference by looking out at the crowded room of reporters at police headquarters and noting, “I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention.”

Maybe make as big of a deal out of it as was made of this fake “attack”?

He’s right, but the celebrity factor is what got Smollett noticed, and frankly, what got so many detectives assigned to his case.

Smollett surrendered to Chicago police around 5 a.m. Thursday on a felony charge of disorderly conduct alleging he made a false police report. Smollett, 36, turned himself in at the Central District police station at 1718 S. State St., flanked by four or five people, according to police spokesman Thomas Ahern, who was present during the surrender.

“He was very quiet and didn’t say anything,” Ahern said. “He went with detectives and they booked him.”

According to the leader of the investigation, Central Commander Edward Wodnicki, 50 subpoenas and search warrants were issued in this case. Investigators scoured over social media posts and video, until they tracked down the two brothers who were seen in the surveillance video, and eventually brought in for questioning.

Ola and Abel Osundairo were extras on the show. They were on their way back to Nigeria when authorities got to them, arresting them on February 13, but later releasing them without charges.

They cooperated.

The two testified before a Cook County grand jury on Wednesday, hours before charges were announced against Smollett. “I’m told they did an excellent job,” Wodnicki said.

Smollett, who is scheduled to appear later today for a bond hearing, could possibly see three years in jail, as well as be forced to pay back the cost of the investigation.

So let’s see – 3 weeks of work, over 1000 hours, and over 20 detectives assigned to the case – sounds like a hefty sum for somebody who is possibly about to find himself out of work.

Smollett’s attorneys released a statement saying that “like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

He does, but in this case, where so many saw holes in the story from the beginning, I’d say it’s a lost cause.

Still, this may have served some unforeseen purpose, in opening up a greater dialogue about false reports of alleged “hate crimes.”

It happens far too often. Sadly, those who perpetrate such fraudulent claims feel justified, because in absence of any strong confirmation for their victimhood, they believe “making it up” is just as good.

At the end of his news conference, Johnson was asked what justice would mean in this case. “Absolute justice would be an apology to the city he smeared,” the superintendent said.

“Now, our city has problems. We know that,” he acknowledged. “But to put the national spotlight on Chicago for something that is both egregious and untrue is simply shameful.”

Johnson told reporters Smollett’s actions were particularly harmful to legitimate hate crime victims in the city.

“The Chicago Police Department will continue to investigate all reports of these type of incidents with the same amount of vigor as we did with this one,” Johnson said. “My concern is that hate crimes will now be publicly met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”

This is true, but it didn’t start with Smollett’s lie, and sadly, he won’t be the last to push a hateful narrative, based on a lie of perceived victimhood.

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