Many of us learn from our past failures. Others continue to make the same mistakes again and again. A lot of people expressed outrage over the apparent racism and homophobia that were involved in the threatening letter sent to Jussie Smollett at the Empire studio, and subsequent attack on January 29. Those same people were shocked when details of Jussie’s orchestration of the attack started to emerge in the following days and weeks. He clearly lied to investigators, and we still don’t know exactly why.
It turns out this isn’t the first time he’s done it, either.
In 2007 he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When asked for his name, Jussie provided his brother’s. He then falsified a signature on the document that set his court date. Not surprisingly, he was inevitably charged with driving without a license, false impersonation, and DWI.
He pleaded no contest, which means he neither contests the charges nor admits guilt. Although judges acknowledge this as a roundabout admission of guilt, a no contest plea cannot be used as such in civil proceedings. That means if someone were to sue Jussie over his DUI or falsified signature, the lawsuit couldn’t use the criminal court result to say he admitted guilt. It’s possible Jussie was worried that his brother would try to sue him over the potential defamation.
A judge sentenced him to two years of probation, and he was also forced to attend and complete an alcohol treatment program.
By itself, Jussie might not have faced jail time for “attack” he helped fake. More likely he would have been given a similar sentence to the one he received before: probation. Now the Chicago Police Department wants information on the 2007 case against him to help the prosecution build an appropriate case. It may be that he spends time in jail for that, but the letter is another matter entirely. The feds are investigating whether or not he sent it to himself, and he might face federal charges if it constitutes yet another lie.
A number of people have pointed out the sheer idiocy of Jussie’s plot. Not only did he allegedly write a personal check to pay for the attack, but the men he hired to carry it out were two friends: his personal trainer and a former colleague from the Empire set. One apparently sold him drugs. He was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing the false police report, to which he pled not guilty. The men who attacked him were released from custody.