At this point, it isn’t clear whether former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett actually believes an appeal will save him from facing charges, or if he thinks America is stupid enough to still believe he did not pull off the nation’s most infamous hate crime hoax. Either way, he is still asserting his innocence and recently expressed confidence he will not be held responsible for his crime.
On Thursday, his attorney Nenye Uche said:
“We feel 100 percent confident that this case will be won on appeal. Unfortunately, that’s not the route we wanted but sometimes that’s the route you have to take to win, especially a case where we remain 100 percent confident in our client’s innocence.”
The lawyer continued, noting that the entertainer was “disappointed” but that he will end up clearing his name. He said:
“He’s a human being, he’s disappointed — but I will tell you this: I am very proud of him, I’m very, very proud of him. He’s holding up very strong, he’s committed to clearing his name and he’s 100 percent confident that he’s going to get cleared by the appellate court.”
A jury voted to convict Smollett of five of the six counts of disorderly conduct related to making false claims to law enforcement regarding a false incident in which he was supposedly attacked by white Trump supporters in Chicago in 2019. Abimbola Osundairo, one of the brothers who Smollett hired to carry out the fake attack, gave the jury the details of how the plot came to fruition.
Uche, for his part, claimed the two brothers attacked the actor because they held homophobic attitudes, despite the fact that the two men had been friends with Smollett prior to the incident. The defense attorney asserted that the fact he was found not guilty on one of the charges proves his innocence. “Jussie was not accused of doing two different things,” he said, “and he was accused of doing one thing, and charged multiple times for the same incident, a jury cannot come out and say guilty of lying, but not guilty of lying. It doesn’t make sense.”
Uche concluded by expressing his confidence in the court system. He said:
“But we are confident in our appellate system, we’re confident in our Illinois Supreme Court and we’re confident that at the end of the day, what’s out there in the news media, and in the gossip forums are not going to stand a chance in court.”
But realistically, it is abundantly obvious that Smollett is not going to get off. The evidence against him was far too strong for any court to entertain the idea that two blacker-than-black Nigerian brothers who were previously friends with the actor all of a sudden decided they didn’t like members of the LGBTQ community and thought it would be a good idea to disguise themselves as MAGA folks and rough him up on a cold morning in Chicago. It simply defies all reason.
But the fact that Smollett is still lying about the incident after having been caught and convicted says something about how he and other progressives truly feel about racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry. Indeed, it reveals how others who have perpetrated false hate crimes view these societal ills.
To put it simply, they don’t give a rip.
If Smollett and his ilk truly cared about victims of legitimate hate crimes, they wouldn’t bother trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes just to get attention. People like this make things harder for those who have actually suffered from bigotry-motivated violence because now people are less likely to believe them when they tell their stories.
This hesitancy to accept real stories depicting this type of violence will make it more difficult to combat racist or homophobic violence. When America sees hoax after hoax after hoax occurring, people cannot be blamed for being skeptical. You can only cry wolf so many times, right?
People like Smollett and members of the left-wing chattering class, which is suspiciously silent on the matter, benefit those who carry out these acts more than the people who are genuine victims – and they do not care. But this reality is reminiscent of an observation I’ve made frequently: Progressives do not view bigotry as a problem to be solved. They view it as a political weapon to be wielded against their opposition. As long as this is the case, it will be harder to address these issues in a meaningful way. Perhaps this is what they want.