The strange thing Donald Trump and Jussie Smollett have in common

Finding a crime to charge an individual is a form of political persecution and it deeply troubles me to witness this politicization of our criminal justice system at a time when crime is exploding in cities all over America, including the South Side of Chicago where I pastor.

If this sounds backward to you, it is.

Along with most of America, I watched the guilty verdicts be handed down during the trial of our former President Donald Trump. The thing that struck me the most was how diligently the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg worked to convict the president. No cost was spared and all hands were on deck as Bragg overcame the expiration of the statute of limitations concerning the Stormy Daniels affair with a hodgepodge of questionable legal maneuvers. He charged Trump with cooking the books and alleged that the hush money he paid to his alleged mistress was, in fact, an illegal donation to his campaign. What his actions showed me was that he judged Trump to be guilty at the outset of all of this and worked to find the crime to convict him.

What Bragg wanted, ultimately, was to achieve the impact of a guilty Trump and at any cost. 


What I mean by this politicization is that we are witnessing the transformation of the justice system from the principle of intent to impact. Under the old standard, you had to establish the intent, the motive, in order to charge a criminal. However, today, we are moving toward a justice system that is being organized around the principle of impact, which refers to the actual impact or outcome.

For example, I recently watched “What Killed Michael Brown?” a documentary by Shelby and Eli Steele that detailed how the witness testimony from six or so Black witnesses cleared the white officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting of Michael Brown. However, for the Left, that didn’t matter. The impact, the result, of a dead black teen at the hands of a White police officer was all that mattered. It was held up by Obama’s Department of Justice as evidence of America’s never-ending systemic racism and most of the media and at least half of the country’s population ran with that political narrative. 


In fact, it was that shooting that launched a progressive wave that led to the election of progressive district attorneys across America, including Kim Foxx in my Chicago.

Her handling of the Jussie Smollett case was almost purely political and, in many ways, she used the tool of impact in a way that is the opposite of how Bragg handled the Trump case — to help the criminal of color. Smollett had told the police that he was attacked in the middle of a bitterly cold night by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs and left him with a noose tied around his neck. A lengthy investigation by the Chicago police found that Smollett paid two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack for him to become a racial justice martyr, a move he thought would advance his career.


Any decent person would have turned on Smollett at that point, especially a city district attorney responsible for the entire populace. Not Kim Foxx. She cared only about the impact of this case — the optics of a famous Black actor ambushed by MAGA racists and homophobes. When the evidence of fraud was beyond indisputable, she shifted her focus — she would not allow the impact of seeing a Black man end up in jail and, in her eyes, contribute to the legacy of mass incarceration.

I watched her fight with other city officials trying to uphold the law. When Smollett was finally sentenced to 150 days in jail for the hoax, Foxx called the court proceedings a “kangaroo prosecution.” Smollett walked out after serving only six days in jail.

Bragg found the crime to convict Trump. Foxx saved Smollett from his own crime. In both cases, the D.A.s operated around the principle of impact with impunity to achieve their political aims and that leaves the rest of us worse off.

Today, we live in an America where the San Francisco Police Department refuses to release mugshots of the arrested because too many of them are people of color. We’ve changed laws in cities all over America to be more lenient — because we’re afraid of locking up too many people of color and appearing to be racist. District attorneys all over America let out Black criminals — because they’re Black — and these repeat offenders often commit more crimes, including murder. Just recently in Chicago, a Black woman was allowed to plead insanity after stripping naked, attacking a police officer, stealing his squad car, and dragging him down the street after running him over.

All of this politicization of our justice system to prosecute a president and to let off certain people — because their skin color is the right tone — is causing our nation profound damage. And who pays the price? Innocent Americans. That is why we must vote out these progressive D.A.s and return to the rule of the law. 

The future of our Republic depends on it.


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