Smollett’s Attorney Claims Officials ‘Violated’ Her Client’s Rights

In the wake of news that charges against Jussie Smollett had been dropped, the beleaguered actor’s attorney released a heavily criticized statement Wednesday evening claiming that Chicago officials are running a smear campaign and accused them of violating her client’s due process rights.

Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, was responding to public comments made by Chicago officials disappointed with the disposition of the case.

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“We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped. The facts are clear,” Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement. “The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond. The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights.”

The Chicago Police Department released Wednesday the investigative file for Smollett’s case, which appeared to indicate Smollett received respectful treatment from law enforcement. The report reveals Smollett was never “handcuffed, placed in a cell or subjected to the media.” It also reveals that the Cook County Jail where the television star was to be held was cleared of other prisoners before his arrival. Authorities honored Smollett’s request to “be kept segregated and housed alone until his attendance in bond court.”

Holmes’ statement said she and her client “would not try this case in a court of public opinion,” claiming there “is no case to try.”

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“The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen,” the statement added.

Commenters replying to a tweet by Fox News National Correspondent Matt Finn announcing the release of Holmes’ statement were overwhelmingly critical of Smollett, Holmes and the Cook County State Attorney’s office, who made the decision to drop the charges.

“I guess it is sorta like OJ: We all know he did it. So the outrage is justified,” one commenter replied. “LOL … due process rights. What about the public’s rights? What about right and wrong? LOL,” tweeted another.

The State Attorney’s office has been accused of mishandling the case by unduly privileging the well-connected celebrity actor, and the FBI is reportedly looking into the dismissal of the charges against Smollett.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and many of the case’s public spectators were outraged by news that Smollett will forfeit his bond of $10,000 and perform community service as part of the 16 charges of disorderly conduct against him being dropped.

Although Cook County prosecutors suddenly decided to drop the case against Smollett this week, Chicago officials stood behind the weeks of police work supporting the charges. Johnson said justice had not been served, Emanuel said there had been “a whitewash of justice” and even the lead prosecutor in the case said he thought Smollett was guilty.

Meanwhile intense scrutiny has fallen on Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for her involvement in the case. She had been in contact with Smollett’s family in the days after the attack, and at their request, tried to have the FBI take over the case.

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Foxx was put in touch with Smollett’s family by former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Tina Tchen. The Chicago attorney – who is also a close friend of Emanuel’s wife – emailed the county’s top prosecutor to express that the family had “concerns about the probe,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Smollett, 36, black and gay former star of Fox’s “Empire” TV show, reported to Chicago Police Department on Jan. 29 that he was assaulted by two masked men who called him racist and homophobic slurs and shouted “This is ‘MAGA’ country!” He said his assailants poured what he believed was bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

Police at first investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, and many other celebrities, activists, politicians, and journalists rushed to condemn not just the attackers but the supposed state of Trump’s America.

In February, Smollett was arrested and charged with staging the crime in an apparent effort to garner attention and sympathy. Fox would could ties with the actor shortly after, removing him from the final two episodes of the season.

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