Chicago Mayor Compares Smollett Case to College-Admissions Scandal

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (right) and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson in 2016. (File photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday blasted the Cook County state’s attorney’s decision to drop the charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who was alleged by police to have staged a hate crime to further his career, calling it a “whitewash of justice.”

“Where is the accountability in the system?” Emanuel said at a press conference on Tuesday. “You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else.”

“Another way you’re seeing this play out, in the universities, where people pay extra to get their kids a special position in universities,” Emanuel said, comparing Smollett’s case to the recent scandal involving bribes parents allegedly paid to secure their children admission to elite schools. “Now you have a person, because of their position and background, who’s getting treated in a way that nobody else would ever . . . get close to this type of treatment.”

Smollett stood accused of lying to police and hiring two men to stage a racist and homophobic attack on him on January 29, and has remained steadfast in his insistence that the attack was real despite the evidence to the contrary. In a statement, State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx’s office cited “Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago” in a statement announcing that the charges would be dropped.

Speaking at the same press conference as Emanuel, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson firmly backed the detectives who conducted the investigation and joined the mayor in criticizing Foxx’s decision.

“Do I think justice was served? No,” Johnson said. “I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth. But no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”

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