Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said that actor Jussie Smollett needs to “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” for staging a fake racist and homophobic attack last year in which the Empire star claimed that he was assaulted by a pair of Trump supporters.
Mayor Lightfoot told reporters this week that Smollett committed a crime and must be held accountable for the wasted police resources that went into investigating the hoax.
“He needs to face the charges,” Lightfoot said, according to a report from CBS 2 Chicago. “He committed a crime, and he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we are going to continue to aggressively make him accountable for the wasted police resources that went into investigating what turned out to be a total hoax.”
Jussie Smollett has pleaded not guilty to the latest six-count indictment charging him with disorderly conduct and falsely reporting that he was the victim of the fake attack in Chicago. The staged hate crime, which occurred in January of last year, involved two extras from Empire whom Smollett hired to carry out the hoax.
The Hollywood star claimed that his assailants put a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him, while saying “this is MAGA country.”
But his story fell apart in the following weeks as mounting evidence indicated that Smollett orchestrated the attack in a bid to advance his Hollywood career.
As the case against him grew, prosecutors mysteriously dropped all charges against Smollett in March. The decision angered police officials as well as Chicago’s then-mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.” As part of the deal, Smollett’s record was expunged of the 16 felony counts related to making a false report.
Some reports noted at the time that Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx had close ties with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Smollett campaigned for President Barack Obama and appeared with the first couple at public events.
Tina Tchen, who was Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, reportedly contacted Foxx regarding the Smollett case. Foxx eventually recused herself from the case following reports she was connected to the Empire actor’s family.
Chicago special prosecutor Dan Webb has brought the new charges against Smollett, saying that further prosecution Jussie Smollett is “in the interest of justice.”
Smollett, who is out on bond, is expected to return to court March 18.