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Chicago Mayor Says City Will Send Smollett Bill for Investigation

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city plans to send a bill to “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for the cost of the investigation into his report of an alleged hate crime attack earlier this year. 

Emanuel, who has bashed prosecutors’ decision to drop charges against Smollett in exchange for community service and his $10,000 bond, told reporters Thursday he expects to ask Smollett and his legal team to write a check.

“The police are assembling the cost [of the investigation],” Emanuel said. “They’ll do that and then the corporation counsel of the city of Chicago will communicate to Jussie Smollett and his legal team about recouping that cost in that effort. And, given that he doesn’t feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, ‘I’m accountable’ for the hoax.”

“The finance is a piece of it and an acknowledgement that what he did at every level was wrong,” he added.

A representative for Smollett’s legal team said “it is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie – owe him an apology – for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough.” 

Emanuel also clapped back at President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier Thursday that the case “is an embarrassment to our Nation!” 

“My recommendation to the president is go to Opening Day baseball. Sit on the sideline,” he said. “Stay out of this.”

“[Trump] created an environment that people think, like – I’m not done, I’m just getting started – that Jussie Smollett thinks that that hate-filled environment that the president created, pinning one American against another because of their background, then creates an environment he thought he could take an advantage of and create a hoax around a hate crime,” he added. “It is a vicious, toxic environment and cycle. I want to break it.” 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice will review the case, Trump claimed in his tweet Thursday. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the case Thursday morning, according to NBC News. 

Smollett’s attorney said Thursday the actor simply wants to “move on,” claiming the aftermath of the alleged beating was “much harsher” than the attack itself.

“What that attack was pales in comparison to the attack on him by the mayor, by the CPD, by the press, by the public,” one of Smollett’s lawyers Tina Glandian said in an appearance on TODAY.

All criminal charges against Smollett were dropped Tuesday, nearly two months after the actor was accused of orchestrating a hate crime attack on himself. The surprise decision to dismiss the charges was celebrated by Smollett and his legal team and blasted by Chicago’s mayor and police department, who raised questions about the circumstances of the deal. 

In an appearance on TODAY Thursday, Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian said his legal team was “not at all” concerned about a potential FBI investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of charges.

“We have nothing to be concerned about because there was nothing on our end to request this, to do anything improper, and to my knowledge, nothing improper was done,” Glandian said.

The news that charges would be dismissed came during an “emergency court appearance” where prosecutors not only dropped the charges against Smollett but agreed to expunge the actor’s record. Prosecutors later said the charges were dismissed in exchange for Smollett’s forfeiture of his $10,000 bond and his performance of community service. 

Smollett pleaded not guilty to multiple disorderly conduct charges earlier this month. He was initially charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report in February, with Chicago police alleging that he staged the attack the month before because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” A Cook County grand jury then indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts.

All Charges Dropped Against ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett

[NATL] All Charges Dropped Against 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett

“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment,” Smollett’s attorneys Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement. 

Smollett maintained his innocence, saying after court that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.” 

Smollett reported the alleged attack to police on Jan. 29, claiming to have been beaten by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him, according to the indictment.

Initially investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, Chicago police said new information “shifted” their approach to the case, leading them to allege that Smollett orchestrated the assault by hiring two brothers who worked on “Empire” to execute it. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson hammered the decision to dismiss charges against him, saying they were unaware it was happening.

“At the end of the day it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. Period. If he wanted to clear his name the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence,” Johnson said. “I stand by the facts of what we produced. If they want to dispute those facts the place to do that is in court.” 

Visibly Angry Mayor on Smollett News: ‘Whitewash of Justice’

[CHI] Visibly Angry Mayor Calls Smollett News a 'Whitewash of Justice'

Emanuel called the decision a “whitewash of justice.”

“Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else,” he said. 

In a statement, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said the decision came “after reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago.”

“We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the statement read.

In an interview Wednesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop charges and denied that she had any involvement after recusing herself from the case in February. 

“I did not want, as this investigation changed, for there to be any question about my impartiality so I removed myself,” she said, echoing earlier statements from her office that the decision to drop charges was not uncommon in disorderly conduct cases.

WATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges Dropped

[NATL-CHI] WATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges Dropped

“Over the course of the last two years, we’ve had 5,700 people go through our pretrial diversion process, people who have non-violent offenses and who have no violence in their background,” Foxx said. “And so I think when people see this one particular case it feels like an outlier where in fact, it’s consistent with how we treat people charged with similar offenses with the same background.”

Documents obtained earlier this month via Freedom of Information Act request showed that Foxx had asked Johnson to turn the investigation over to the FBI. The documents also showed correspondence between Foxx, an unknown person and Tina Tchen, a one-time assistant to former President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama.

“It was not unusual for me to talk to a victim in a case,” Foxx said. “At the time that I engaged with this family member, Mr. Smollett was a victim.”

Tchen said in a statement she knew members of the Smollett family from “prior work together” and that “as a family friend,” she contacted Foxx “to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim’s family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public.”

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‘Watchmen’ Recreates 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, Exposing Viewers to an Ugly Chapter

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The premiere of HBO’s “Watchmen” was packed with allusions to the dense mythology of the landmark 1980s graphic novel that inspired it, thrilling fans and newcomers alike. But a solemn nod to a real-world event appears to have left the greatest impression on viewers.

The pilot episode opened with a stylized, searing recreation of the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, a two-day explosion of violence in which white Oklahomans killed hundreds of African-Americans and burned businesses in a prosperous district known as “Black Wall Street.” The bloody attack is considered “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history,” according to the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The facts of the Tulsa massacre — bullets flying, buildings aflame — appeared to have been unknown to many “Watchmen” viewers who expressed their disbelief on social media. Some said they were appalled to first learn of the event through a superhero-themed television show, while others blamed the country’s educational system for failing to highlight it in history curricula.

The attack, coming amid the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and racial terror through much of the country, was not widely reported at the time. “News reports were largely squelched, despite the fact that hundreds of people were killed and thousands left homeless,” History.com says in an overview of the violent siege.

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The unsettling recreation of the Tulsa massacre helped set the tone for the “Watchmen” series, which has been described by creator Damon Lindelof (“Lost,” “The Leftovers”) as an ambitious “remix” of the celebrated 12-part comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

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Two Decades Later, ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Actor Reflects on Historic Gay Kiss

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Retrospective looks at “Dawson’s Creek” often focus on how the titular character Dawson Leery can be considered “annoying” and a “wannabe filmmaker”who treated women as collateral to actualize his vision of himself as a tortured artist. But besides introducing viewers to an arguably excruciating main character, the WB show also gave viewers one of the most iconic moments in television history back in 1998: primetime TV’s first “passionate” gay kiss.

More than 20 years later, Kerr Smith, who played Jack McPhee on the teen drama, reflected on the impact of that kiss in an interview with Too Fab.

“We were the first ones to do that,” Smith told the entertainment blog. “It was a crazy experience back then.”

During the show’s season 3 finale, titled “True Love,” Jack confessed his true feelings for Ethan (Adam Kaufman) with a kiss, NBC News reports. The storyline ends in heartbreak — Ethan has got back together with his ex-boyfriend and doesn’t reciprocate Jack’s feelings — but history was made nonetheless.

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[NATL] Lady Gaga Plummets Off Stage in Fan's Arms at Vegas Show

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Meghan Markle on Media Scrutiny: ‘Not That Many People Have Asked If I’m OK’

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Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, speaks out in a new documentary about media attention and being vulnerable during pregnancy and new motherhood, NBC News reports.

“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, they are vulnerable. So, that made things very challenging, when you have a newborn,” Markle says in a preview of a new documentary set to air on ABC on Oct. 23. “Not that many people have asked if I’m OK.”

“Harry and Meghan: An African Journey” follows Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, on a recent tour of Africa.

Markle’s remarks come after the royal couple sued a British tabloid newspaper for publishing a private letter she wrote to her father.Harry accused the tabloid of editing the letter in “an intentionally destructive manner” to “manipulate” readers with an unflattering portrayal of his wife.

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