US

Jussie Smollett And Jeffrey Epstein Cases Bear Similarities, Critics Say

(LEFT: Jeffrey Epstein gives a deposition in 2009. YouTube/Miami Herald RIGHT: REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Mike Brest Reporter

The seemingly open-and-shut criminal cases against convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, though over a decade apart, have led some legal experts to compare the two.

Epstein, who pleaded guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution from minors, spent only 13 months in jail as a part of a now-controversial sweetheart plea agreement back in 2008. As a part of the agreement, law enforcement opted not to continue the investigation into other victims or alleged perpetrators associated with Epstein.

The plea agreement he received garnered scrutiny following a Miami Herald investigation. One of the prosecutors who brokered the agreement is current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

A judge ruled the that the plea agreement Epstein received violated state laws because the prosecutors did not notify the victims prior to the agreement. (RELATED: Epstein Legal Team Defends Alexander Acosta’s 2007 Pedophile Plea Deal)

Jeffrey Epstein is shown in this undated Florida Department of Law Enforcement photo. REUTERS/Florida Department of Law Enforcement/Handout via Reuters

Some are comparing the sweetheart plea agreement Epstein received to the charges being dropped against Smollett.

Smollett, 36, was charged with 16 counts for his role in allegedly orchestrating a fake hate crime, but the charges were unexpectedly dropped Tuesday morning.

Smollett alleged in January that two white men attacked him in the middle of the night as he was walking home from a Chicago-area “Subway” restaurant. He told police that the men poured a bleach-like substance on him, tied a noose-like rope around his neck and shouted racist and homophobic slurs.

The Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx communicated with Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff Tina Tchen and members of the Smollett family, which led to her stepping back from the case. She claimed to have recused herself, but her office released a statement Thursday saying she only “colloquially” recused herself.

Fox News obtained an internal email from Foxx asking assistant state’s attorneys to dig for examples of similar situations in which the charges were dropped.

The FBI is now opening an investigation into why the charges were dropped. Similarly, the Department of Justice announced last month that they are looking into how Epstein got his plea deal.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Leighton Criminal Court Building after attending a hearing on whether cameras will be allowed in future proceedings of his trial on felony charges, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

CNN legal analyst Laura Coates pointed out the lucky breaks both of them had in a tweet that reads, “While the topic of felony indictments converted to wrist slaps is on everyone’s, including mind, can we also chat about the prosecutorial decisions about ?” with a link to a Vox.com article about Epstein.

“Smollett may have benefited from celebrity justice,” Georgetown University law professor Jonathan Turley also tweeted. “Like the Epstein case, it is not clear if the problem was an absence of blind justice or of equal justice. What is clear, however, is that this represents a travesty of justice.”

Conservative pundit and The Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro tweeted in February, “If Epstein weren’t politically connected is there any doubt he’d be in prison for the rest of his life?”

He weighed in Tuesday on the charges being dropped against Smollett, saying, “Letting Smollett off the hook is a pure political calculation by Cook County. It is indeed that simple. The facts are in public view.”


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