Since the beginning, I have urged that in the Jussie Smollett affair, we keep our powder dry and put our faith in due process, if for no other reason than the narrative ricochets at the speed of a pinball. Due process remains the standard, but, like so many things these days, it seems, we need to wait on the FBI. The FBI is launching a second investigation, this time into the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, and the case of the disappearing charges.
The media keeps asking me and others the penultimate question—can Jussie Smollett’s career be salvaged? This is no longer a reputation management and rehabilitation question, it is a legal one. Yes, Mr. Smollett can rehabilitate his career and even blossom—because far more people are watching the episode unfold out of Chicago than ever watched “Empire”—if the FBI chooses not to prosecute Mr. Smollett and if they don’t find any wronging by Cook County. But if they do on either count, recovery will be far more challenging.
In a case that has no last words, for the moment, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association has it: “The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses.”
I will be doing morning drive time with LA’s KABC about the time you read this. I’m sure the narrative, if the not the facts, will have changed again by then. Stay tuned.