It doesn’t seem possible, but the Jussie Smollett case just got more infuriating.
As if it wasn’t enough that the “Empire” star was charged with staging a fake anti-gay attack back in January and insulting the character of millions of President Donald Trump’s supporters, Smollett’s attorneys are now insulting the country’s intelligence.
In a court motion reported by the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday, Smollett’s lawyers are claiming that even if the actor was behind a faked attack, it wasn’t his fault that the Chicago Police Department decided to investigate the case so thoroughly.
According to the Sun-Times, the bizarre claim was made by Smollett’s legal team in the case where the city is attempting to recover more than $130,000 spent in overtime and other costs related to investigating the alleged attack.
On Jan. 29, Smollett reported to police that he’d been assaulted by two men during an early morning confrontation in downtown Chicago. The men allegedly splashed Smollett with a chemical and placed a rope around his neck while shouting “This is MAGA country,” referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Considering Chicago is a deeply Democratic city where Trump supporters are few and far between — much less attacking black, gay actors at 2 a.m. on a freezing winter morning — the case drew widespread attention, as Smollett knew it would.
Smollett was eventually charged with 16 counts of making a false report — charges that were eventually dismissed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, to the outrage of much of the country.
In the filing reported by the Sun-Times, Smollett’s attorneys did not admit that Smollett had lied to police but stated that even if he did, he had no control over the cops’ decision to launch a large investigation.
“Mr. Smollett disputes any and all assertions that he made a false statement and was not a victim of a crime,” reads a footnote on the first page, the Sun-Times reported.
Then it states the heart of the argument:
“The filing of a police report, in and of itself, does not necessitate a sprawling investigation nor does it, as a practical matter, usually result in an investigation as extensive as the one the CPD chose to undertake in this case.
“The City has failed to allege that Mr. Smollett was similarly ‘well aware’ that his statements to police would result in 1,836 hours of police overtime, or any other reasons why he should have known this would have been the case.”
OK. So maybe Smollett couldn’t be expected to know exactly how many man-hours of investigation the CPD would devote to his case. He couldn’t help but know that the report of an attack on a prominent television star was going to get publicity — and publicity was going to mean an investigation.
And if it was all based on a lie, he would have had to know that, too — obviously.
Even lawyers can understand that.
But Smollett’s lawyers, of course, won’t admit the obvious.
“My client from the beginning has maintained his innocence and disputed the city’s allegations,” said William J. Quinlan, of The Quinlan Law Firm, who filed the motion, according to the Sun-Times.
“We contend the city is wrong … The mere fact somebody filed a police report doesn’t presume the investigation will be done and certainly not to the extent of what the city is claiming.”
It’s an infuriating argument — in a case that just keeps getting more infuriating all the time.