Eleven months after Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett in a secret court hearing, the Hollywood circus today returns to Chicago. Smollett is scheduled to surrender himself to authorities sometime today so he can face six new counts of filing a false police report.
And, despite claims by Cook County’s top prosecutors, CWBChicago still hasn’t found a single criminal defendant who got the same preferential treatment he received. Neither has the former U.S. attorney who’s investigating the Smollett matter.
Special prosecutor Dan Webb, leading a court-ordered probe of Smollett’s case and how it was handled by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, received the new charges from a grand jury earlier this month.
Hours after the new charges went public, Webb’s office released a letter about his ongoing investigation. The letter said the state’s attorney’s office, led by Kim Foxx, could not provide any documentation to back up its repeated claims that Smollett’s deal is available to “all defendants.”
“[The state’s attorney’s office] issued a written press release in which it told the public that the Smollett case was being resolved under the same criteria that would be available for any defendant with similar circumstances,” Webb’s office said. His investigators “sought to obtain all documentary evidence…that would identify prior similar case files that were relied on by the [state’s attorney’s office] that would support this public statement.”
Foxx’s office “was unable to provide this documentary evidence.”
The complete lack of comparable cases would not be a surprise to CWBChicago readers. Last spring, we shared the details of every case identical to Smollett’s that had been filed since Foxx took office. There were 10 cases. None of the defendants got anything close to the “Smollett deal.”
We’ve continued to track false report cases since then. Over the past 10 months, five more people matching our “apples-to-apples” comparison criteria have been charged under Foxx. To qualify for comparison with Smollett, defendants:
- must be charged with exactly the same crime as Smollett – felony disorderly conduct false report
- must not be charged with any additional crimes
- must not have any previous criminal convictions in Cook County
- must be accused of filing the allegedly false report in Chicago
Here are the allegations made against those five people and a look at how their case has been handled by Foxx’s office. We are not naming the defendants unless their cases have been previously reported in news media.
• Karla Antimo, 37, was charged in May 2019 with one count of felony disorderly conduct by filing a false report after she allegedly told police that she found a newborn baby on top of a garbage can. But prosecutors say that’s not what happened. In fact, her son’s girlfriend had just given birth to the child, prosecutors say. Antimo picked the newborn up from the woman and drove it to a firehouse, where she turned it over and allegedly spun the story about finding it on a trash can.
In July, a grand jury returned three felony counts of disorderly conduct – false report against Antimo (Smollett’s grand jury charged him with sixteen counts).
As of Friday, Antimo’s case is still winding its way through the courts. She has pleaded not guilty.
• Terreance King, 22, was charged last May with making more than a dozen false 911 calls reporting on-duty police officers shot. Prosecutors say he liked to watch the emergency responses his calls received. Initially charged with one felony count of false report, a grand jury later charged him with a total of ten counts. King skipped bail in June and remained on the loose until Jan. 14. He is now facing an additional charge of escape. Both cases are on-going.
• SM, a 48-year-old man, was charged with one felony count of false report on Nov. 18 after he allegedly told police that an armed man robbed him of a phone and tablet that belonged to his employer. After police checked surveillance camera footage from a nearby grocery store, SM admitted that he made the story up, cops said. On Jan. 28, SM entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors.
• Last June, prosecutors charged 27-year-old CO with one felony count of false report after she allegedly told investigators that she had been kidnapped and forced to withdraw $4,750 from her bank. Police say she later admitted that she had not been robbed or kidnapped and the story was a ruse to cover up a bogus check deposit. She pleaded guilty in November and received a sentence of one-year probation.
• During a family court appearance last spring, 29-year-old SD told Judge Maritza Martinez that she filed a false police report against her ex-boyfriend in a failed effort to regain custody of their child. Prosecutors charged her with one felony count of false report. She has pleaded not guilty and the court case is active.
• CS, a 31-year-old woman, was charged on Jan. 2 with one felony count of false report after she called 911 to report the child’s father was fighting her and had a gun. Officers say the man did not have a gun and CS admitted she told the 911 operator that he was armed to speed up the police response. The case continues to work its way through court.
In addition to those five “perfect” felony comparisons to Smollett, CWB’s team also identified two cases in which individuals with no prior Cook County criminal convictions have been charged with misdemeanor counts of false report:
• Prosecutors filed a single count of misdemeanor false report against CP, a 20-year-old woman, on Oct. 29. Police say she falsely reported that someone was brandishing a gun during a domestic argument. CP pleaded guilty on Dec. 12 in exchange for a sentence of three months probation and 60 hours of community service.
• EG, a 22-year-old man, was charged with one count of misdemeanor false report on Sept. 12. Prosecutors said EG gave police false details of a traffic crash in which he was the driver. EG reportedly told investigators that he made up the false information because he was delivering for Amazon at the time of the crash and he didn’t want to get into trouble.
Did he get a Smollett deal? Hardly. In November, a judge sentenced EG to six months of court supervision after he pleaded guilty.
See all of CWBChicago’s Jussie Smollett coverage here.