Jussie Smollet maintained his innocence when speaking to a TMZ reporter at the Los Angeles airport on Wednesday. The former ‘Empire’ actor is facing six new criminal charges surrounding his purported Chicago hate hoax, in which he is said to have paid two Nigerian brothers to play the role of racist Trump supporters and stage a fake attack on him.
Smollett’s accomplices have turned on him, admitting their role in the hoax and that Smollett paid them to help him pose as a victim. But the actor is still maintaining his innocence, as seen in his conversation with a TMZ reporter.
The actor spoke with confidence when asked about his legal strategy.
“I don’t claim to be innocent, I am innocent.”
Smollett’s claims are disputed by the Osundairo brothers, who have been subjected to lengthy police interview surrounding their role in the hate crime hoax. They’ve admitted they were paid by Smollett in the elaborate scheme.
Smollett appeared set to coast free of any potential legal consequences from the hoax in March of 2019, when charges of lying to police were dropped by a Chicago prosecutor with little to no expanation. Local police unions seethed when it was revealed Chicago District Attorney Kim Foxx was closely connected to some of Smollett’s political contacts.
However, Smollett was charged with new accounts of lying to police earlier this month by Special Counsel Dan Webb, who was appointed by Judge Michael Toomin to review the matter.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s fight or die at this point,” Smollett stated, making it appear unlikely that he’d come forward and admit to organizing the hoax.
“The truth is the best defense. The truth, which they know nothing about.”
Fighting words. The case against Smollett is objectively strong, corroborated by numerous witnesses, surveillance camera footage of the actor’s accomplices purchasing materials used in the hoax, and premeditated plotting preceding the event.
It appears likely that Smollett will argue the Osundairo brothers executed the attack purely on their own initiative, going out of their way to make a dishonest attack on a liberal actor that left him a picturesque hate crime victim.
Smollett’s next court date is on March 18th. Perhaps he’d be better off reconsidering his legal strategy before then.
Brooklyn Lawyers Arrested, Charged With Molotov Cocktail Attacks on Police Vehicles
Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman have been charged.
Two lawyers, one of whom is employed by a prestigious New York law firm, were arrested on Friday night for constructing molotov cocktails and throwing them at police vehicles during the race riots that have rocked the nation.
Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, were arrested and charged Sunday morning. Authorities allege that Rahman threw multiple molotov cocktail devices from the back of a car that Mattis was driving. Materials used in the construction of the crude incendiary devices was found in the car.
Rahman had been caught lobbing a device at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle in Fort Greene. NYPD surveillance camera footage later enabled the authorities to apprehend the criminal suspects.
Mattis had been an employee of a large corporate law firm called Pryor Cashman. His biography on the law firm’s website was removed by Sunday afternoon, indicating that the company had severed its connection with the 2016 NYU Law and Princeton graduate. Rahman is a 2019 Fordham law graduate.
Mattis is also a member of New York City’s Community Board 5, a municipal council that covers East New York and Starrett City. Members of the board expressed shock that the white collar professional would engage in such acts of terroristic violence.
The two attorneys are scheduled for an initial court appearance on Monday in the Eastern District of New York. It appears that a significant portion of the violence of the riots is being carried out by nominally well-educated and middle-class urban professionals.
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