LEGAL ROUNDUP! CRUMBLEY, POTTER, MAXWELL, SMOLLETT TRIALS
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Welcome to Is This Legal? Here are your hosts attorneys Colin McCallin and Russell Hebets.
Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome. Once again, to another episode of is this legal, we are coming to you from sunny, Colorado, and I am Russell Hebets and I'm here with my partner as always
Colin McCallin. You're gonna make me say it this time, huh?
I'm gonna make him say Colin McCallin. Indeed is my partner. We are today gonna be bringing you a legal roundup. We're gonna be briefly touching on four different cases that have been in the news lately.
There's just a large amount of interesting trials going on right now. Um, sometimes it, it works out that way. Sometimes it doesn't, but we're, we're definitely not dry spell trial wise here are we Russ? No
Tons of fodder for podcasts, legal analysts like us. So there's tons going on. So here's what we're gonna be talking about today. Um, we are going to be talking about the horrific school shooting in Michigan and the very unusual decision by she can prosecutors to bring criminal charges against the parents of Ethan Crumbley. So we'll be talking about James and Jennifer Crumbley and the charges they're facing. We are gonna be talking about a shooting in Florida involving police officer Kim Potter,
Minnesota. But yes, uh, Kim Potter is, uh, she will, was, uh, charged with basically mistaking her taser for a, her firearm and she ended up, uh, shooting and killing, um, a black man in Minnesota. Uh, and we're gonna, she's about to, she's actually, uh, going on trial right now in that case. So we'll be touching on that one. We're
Gonna be talking about the, uh, Epstein Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Yeah. So that that's been in the news, that trial is also going on right now. Um, and we'll be talking about that and the, um, you know, sex trafficking charges that she is facing in association with her relationship with the deceased Epstein.
Yep. And then, uh, we're gonna round things out with a long and expanded, uh, uh, DCOTW involving, uh, actor, Jussie Smollet, who is, uh, currently wrapping up his trial. And we have a few things to say about, uh, Jussie.
So I, I think you, you mean Jussie, uh,
Jussie <laugh> is his name I think is how it's pronounced, but, um, I don't know, spelled like juicy, but I, I, I, I think it's Jussie, uh, but anyway, why don't we start, let's talk let's let's let's talk about, uh, what happened in Michigan. So
Horrific school shooting, I feel like they're one of these every week. It is another tragic school shooting. Four students were killed by Ethan Crumbley. This is particularly heart rendering because this shooting was extremely preventable. There were tons of flags that went up, unfortunately, red ones, red ones, and unfortunately Ethan went through 'em all and ended up, uh, killing four of his, uh, students, four of his co-students. Um, so let let's talk about what happened just briefly to set the stage for anyone who hasn't really dug into this case at all. I know some people, um, in including you, Colin initially were really avoiding coverage on this, just because it's so hard to really just be bombarded with these, these shootings again and again and again. Um, but here's what happened. His father, James crumbly bought him a handgun and let's mention this gets 15 years old, I believe.
Yes. So bottom a handgun roughly a week prior to this shooting, Ethan Crumbley the shooter was with him after he got the gun. He posted on social media, got my new beauty, just got my new beauty in school. The day before the shooting, he was caught searching ammo in class. The teacher saw him on websites, searching for gun ammunition. The teacher reported it. His parents were notified. His mother was notified that he was doing that his mother in response to that sent him a text. LOL, I'm not mad. You have to learn to not get caught. The following day, Ethan is in class and a teacher sees him drawing on a piece of paper, a gun, a person who looked like they had been shot two times, blood everywhere. And on it, it said help me. There's blood everywhere. So the teacher correctly takes him to the administration yeah.
To the administration. And they go there and they call in the parents and James and Jennifer come in and they explain what happened, explain what they found. Now, it it's important to note Ethan, this whole time is, has plausible explanations for this. He tells the administration, this is for a video game I'm working on. I want to be a video game developer. Um, this was not anything with, you know, I wa I'm not intending to do anything. And he seemed concerned about missing class. He was doing his homework as they were waiting for his parents. So his parents come and the administration says, we'd like you to take your son home. And what do they say? They decline. They don't take, uh, their kid home. They express reluctance to take their kid home.
And they basically say, we're leaving him at school and they leave him at school. And then right after that, in the afternoon, this school shooting occurs. He gets his gun, by the way, the, the, uh, the parents, nor the school searched him, uh, to see whether or not he had a weapon. He had in fact brought his gun loaded, uh, to school that day.
It was apparently in the backpack that he had with him. And no one searched that backpack. So, so extremely preventable, extremely avoidable. It didn't happen. There were misses on multiple levels. Of course, as expected, Ethan Crumbly is charged with murder for counts of murder. He's being charged as an adult. Yep. Which is, is re reasonable in this situation. The crazy or unprecedented thing I should say is the parents, James and Jennifer are being charged with involuntary
Manslaughter. So we're gonna focus on that because we don't see this often. You know, we often in these school shootings, obviously the actor gets charged, but we don't see the parents get charged. Um, Russ, can you walk us through, uh, what involuntary manslaughter is in Michigan?
So in Michigan, involuntary manslaughter under the subsection, they're going with, it means that someone, the defendant created a situation where the risk of great bodily harm or death was very high, knowing that as a result of their actions, they knew that serious harm or death would likely result. That is what a, prosecutor's gonna have to prove as to James and Jennifer crumbly. So what's, what's the prosecution's argument here, Colin,
You know, I think the prosecution is, is gonna have some pretty, um, fair points to make here. Um, I mean, they're, again, we're kind of looking at what actions did these parents take? Uh, were, were they reckless, uh, were they careless in their actions? Could they have done something different? And you have a few different things going on here. First of all, you have parents illegally obtaining a firearm for the, or 15 year old son. When I say illegally it's because you're not allowed to possess a weapon under the age of 18. So you have parents actively facilitating the purchase of this weapon. All right. Um, then you've got, um, the prosecution indicating that there's a lot of ignoring of red flags here. I mean, you have, uh, you have this, uh, student who is, may making disturbing statements, disturbing drawings indicating that, you know, these things are on his mind that perhaps he has, has violent tendencies, you know, happening, uh, while he's just obtained this firearm.
And you've got mom, you know, LOL don't get caught, searching for ammunition at school. Ha ha ha. I mean, she thinks this is a big joke. And then I think what's really, uh, compelling is the fact that you've got a school approaching the parents saying, Hey, your son is acting in very concerning ways. Um, he's searching for ammunition, he's making these pictures. We believe something's going on here. We want him checked out by a mental health professional and the parents say, uh, we're not gonna do any of that. We're, uh, we're gonna leave him with you. We're not gonna take any action. You want us to take him home? We're not doing that. Uh, we're leaving. And then he commits this horrible
Act. And, and, and like, just to unpack the gun thing, because the gun thing, they have a lot to work with. The press execution does not only did he buy the gun, but they did not secure the gun. So this was not safely stored. Right. They allowed Ethan access for the gun.
That part. I mean, let's talk about that, right? If you're gonna, if you're gonna have a gun in the house, uh, isn't there such a thing as responsible gun ownership where you keep that thing under lock and key, certainly away from your minor child. Um, and, and obviously that didn't happen here, right? I don't think there was any effort on the part of the parents to secure this gun from, uh,their, their kids. No, the gun should be safe. Storage means ammo is stored separately from the gun and the gun is secured, a gun lock, a gun safe. And so none of that happens. So the gun was bought, the gun was excess. The gun was not locked. And the parents did not tell the school about the gun, which is another key piece that the prosecution's gonna have. I think it's, it's easy for them to get the first part of this law. They created a situation where the risk of great bodily harm or death was very high. That to me is a no brainer. Now,
What do you think that it, defense is gonna focus on here, Russ? So the defense defending these parents for a minute.
Yeah. So, so the defense is it it's really attacking the prosecution. The prosecution is predicated upon a parent being required to volunteer evidence that could lead to a child's being prosecuted, or even just barred from attending school. This prosecution attempts to create a duty on parents to give authorities whether it's school or law enforcement evidence against their child. That alone, Colin is an unprecedented expansion of criminal law. There is no criminal codified statute that says, parents have to do that. Now there's no privilege with parents, but you're talking about requiring them to proactively do that. You know, the, the defense is gonna say, you know, society has a number of ways to respond to this, you know, civil suits, civil damages against
The parents just saying against the you're saying they, they can be sued. Right. Um, you can go after 'em in those ways, but they shouldn't be charged criminally. Exactly.
Okay. Exactly. Like they're, they're gonna say criminal prosecution should be reserved for those with criminal intent. And you know, there's an argument Colin, that this creates a slippery slope where if you allow this, because there was, there's no allegations that the parents knew Ethan was going shoot. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> there, there's no allegation of that. So there's, there's an argument that this is a slippery slope. Well, what about the school officials? Maybe they should be charged because they didn't check the backpack. And that was in that sequence of actions that led to this horrific result. Right. So, you know, ultimately we'll see what happens,
But yeah, we're in the early stages of this. And I imagine we'll probably do some follow up on this case, um, as it, you know, winds its way toward trial, but a horrible horrible event. And, uh, but yeah, that, this is definitely, uh, the first time I think we've seen parents actually get in the wake of a shooting like this. So we'll follow up on that one. Russ, we ready to move on to our next case. Let's do it. Let's talk about, um, Kim Potter. So, uh, Kim Potter was a Minneapolis is, was, well, she she's still alive, but she was a Minneapolis police officer who killed and, uh, a black man by the name of Wright. This is, um, another terrible, tragic, preventable death. Um, that started out with a very simple traffic stop. This, uh, this poor guy was pulled over because he had, uh, an obstructed windshield.
And, uh, when the police ran him, uh, the police found a warrant. One of the police officers scene was, uh, Kim Potter. And, um, when they discovered the warrant, they ordered Dante right out of his vehicle. He did not agree and attempted to flee inside of the vehicle. And we know exactly what happened here. The facts are not in dispute. Um, what happened was Kim Potter in an effort to try and restrain Dante Wright. Uh, she approached him with what she believed was her taser. Um, and, uh, she discharged what she thought was her taser. But in reality was her service weapon. She shot him one time and it, it killed Daunte Wright. Uh, the bullet went right through his lungs, right through his heart, killing him instantly. Kim Potter immediately says, oh my God, I just shot him. Yeah. And there
There's no dispute that she thought it was a taser. Like she's yelling taser taser before she, she fires. She legitimately, I think by all accounts believed she had pulled her taser when she had a actually pulled her firearm.
Yeah. I mean, the body camera evidence in this case is gonna be 100%, uh, dispositive of this case in the sense that what happened, you can really see that this was an accident. So, you know, why is the case going to trial? And I'll tell you, this is something that I wondered myself, uh, before doing some research on this, because it's not murder. She's not charged with murder. She's charged with two counts of manslaughter first and second degree manslaughter. The, the top charge she's facing, uh, is a maximum of 15 years. And I had a discussion with Russ a couple days ago. I'm like, you know, gosh, why I wonder why maybe why not go in and just plead guilty. You asked for lenient this leniency. This was an accident, you know, and I think the reason why is, first of all this, again, let's remember the setting.
This happened in Minneapolis, same jurisdiction. This is being tried in the same exact courtroom where Derek Chauvin was just tried, uh, you know, for, you know, his murder of a black man. Uh, and so, you know, we, we are dealing with a city that has been through this. And, um, the, the prosecutor in the case has indicated that he maybe believes that more penalties beyond 15 years should be appropriate. So that's why we're going to trial. Russ, let me quickly cover the charges on this. Um, again, I mentioned that she's facing charges of first degree and second degree manslaughter. Um, and what this goes to, you've heard us talk about the criminal intent. Mens rea, this is what the prosecution has to establish and what the jury is gonna be tasked with. Looking at here, I think is whether or not this was a reckless killing versus a careless killing, um, and, and
Careless, careless is a lower, lower level of mens rea than records.
That's the second degree manslaughter charge, basically second degree manslaughter is if you, uh, cause the death of another person due to, uh, carelessness or negligence on your part, right? So of course the, the argument is gonna be at, at a minimum, she was careless in not recognizing that she was holding a <laugh> yeah. Her service weapon, as opposed to a Daer, you know, and, and, and that's indisputable
Like that. That
Is careless. Yeah. So then the question is gonna be whether or not, uh, the prosecution can establish, uh, first agreements slaughter. So that is it's, it's a little complicated Russ. What they have to, what they have to prove is she was engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor offense. And during that commission of that misdemeanor, someone died. So the theory is that if, if she, the misdemeanor charge that they have to prove is that she was, uh, recklessly handling her firearm. And if they can prove that, and, and obviously if they can prove that the reckless handling of firearm led to this man's death, um, then they're gonna be able to, uh, get a conviction for this first degree manslaughter charge. So they're
It up. They're they, that's one way argument you can make, although I think, you know, I mean, when, when you think about it, I think, I think there are arguments to be made here. I mean, what's the difference again, between reckless and carelessness, carelessness is where you're just, you're, you're, you're kind of unaware of something happening. You, you don't intend the result to happen, but you should have, you should have been better. You should have been better in that situation. You were negligent. So reckless is
You're actually ignoring a risk.
That's exactly right. You're, you're, there's
A risk there and you are, you are going beyond me. Carelessness are, there's a risk there
And you don't, there's a risk that someone is going to be substantially injured or killed, right. By your actions. And she ignored that risk and you move forward anyway with that. Yeah. And so the jury here, I, I, I think the question, there's no doubt that she killed him. There's no doubt that the events of, uh, of that day happened in this tragic way. There's no doubt she did not intend to kill.
Absolutely. And, and there's no argument that this was, this was anything other than an accident. But I think that what the jury is gonna be tasked with here is deciding, okay, how big of an accident was this? Was this really just an accident where she shouldn't be held accountable at all? Or do we have to hold her to either a careless or reckless standard? All right, Colin, we will keep everyone updated on how that case plays out. But right now I believe everyone is ready for our segment Is this legal today? We have a great guest for you and Colin. Let's go have some fun. All right. And then
When we get back, we'll talk about a couple more trials that are currently going on right now. See you back after the break.
Our guest today is Andy rot. Andy is the owner of home care assistance of Denver home care assistance is a five star rated Google business that provides non-medical home care for seniors to thrive at home. Andy also joins me in being an avid Wolverines fan go blue and a force to be reckoned with on the poker table when he is not busy running his own business or taking people's money at Texas Holden, Andy is the busy father of two teenagers in high school. So basically he's an UN a Uber driver. Andy. Welcome.
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
How you doing today, Andy?
Fantastic. Fantastic. Looking for some snow for the, uh, for the mountains, man. Yeah, we need it.
You can, you can say that
Again. I've been doing my snow dance every night. <laugh> so, so Andy, this is, this is not, not a video podcast, but I can't help, but notice in your video you have a big tub of whiskey behind you. So I mean, ha have you been taking some nips before the show? <laugh>I, I have not. Uh, that was a, uh, auction prize or auction win from a, a large gala recently. And,Uh, so, so you're a philanthropist too. Absolutely. Is there anything this guy doesn't do andYou know, paying $300 for, uh, a bottle of Jack Daniels? It's not, uh, you know, it's not the question obviouslyLike, like all silent auction items, right. You buy him and then you never actually use them. Right. That's the name of theGame? I, I, I feel compelled after $300. <laugh> Jack Daniels and, and fireball to, to,That's gonna be the best bottle of Jack you ever have. Right.I like how it's a top shelf basket. <laugh> well,We're looking for recipes. We're looking for are recipes. <laugh>Well, Andy, Colin is gonna tee you up with today's. Is this legal hypothetical? So are you ready?Are you ready to play? Is this legal Andy RA up?Yeah,Give it
Right. Well, um, I know you're new to the program, so the way this works, I'm gonna, I'm about to lay out kind of a legal fictional scenario. And at the end, I'm gonna ask your opinion on whether or not it's legal. So here we go. Um, of course we're gonna be talking about our two knucklehead friends, uh, JIA and Cornelius they're featured in, uh, all of these things. And, uh, these two idiots are at it again. Um, Andy, just so for your reference, these guys hate each other. And, um, Jebediah has a, uh, thriving, uh, pardon me. Uh, Cornelius has a thriving, uh, wagon wheel repair business. And, um, Jebediah is accused by Cornelius of burglarizing this business and causing some damage. And of course, Cornelius reports this to the local sheriff and Jebediah gets charged with burglary. Jebediah just absolutely denies these charges and says, this is just Cornelius coming after me again, he pleads not guilty.
And this case goes to trial for the criminal charge of burglary. And at this trial JIA takes the stand. He takes the witness stand in his own defense to tell the jury that he did not do this burglary and that Cornelius is trying to set him up because of their past and blood. Now here's the kicker. The prosecutor in this case is our good friend Myrtle. And, uh, you know, Myrtle's no slouch. She did her homework on JDI and she knows, uh, that he has a prior felony conviction for drug possession from about 10 years earlier in a different state. My question to you, Andy will Myrtle the prosecutor be allowed to question on the witness, stand about this prior drug felony conviction. Is this legal?
My thought is that it's not, cause it's not necessarily pertaining to the specific case. That's not like a drug case. Um, it's a burglary case, uh, you know, uh, maybe it could be argued that like, you know, just, uh, um, you know, past indiscretions more than likely I, I would think that the judge would say that's not appropriate for this case and it can't be really tied
To it. Right, Andy, it sounds like we've got your answer locked in. You're saying that, uh, Myrtle cannot ask him about this, uh, prior drug conviction, uh,
For that's my answer,
Andy, while your logic is sound, unfortunately it is incorrect. Oh. And is hitting here's. Here's why Andy you're right. That Myrtle can't bring up that prior drug connection or conviction to show like character, or he acted in conformity with that in the past, because it's not relevant to a burglary, but it is allowed in virtually every state in the country to affect, to attack the credibility of a witness.
And why is that Russ?
Because if you have a felony conviction, you are allowed to use that conviction, whatever that conviction is for to say, this person may not be the most credible because they have a felony conviction. Yeah.So what makes it, uh, what makes it allowable is the felony part. The fact that it's classified as a felony, you can be impeached with any felony. If you ever take the stand. And it's not just the defendant, by the way, it's any witness, any witness who testifies, who has a felony conviction that can be used against him now? Uh, Russ, how about a
Follow up? So a Andy, I mean, Colin just kinda gave away the answer to the follow up, but let's, let's, let's say this one, $10,000. I'll take call I'm. I'm gonna go all in on this one. <laugh> let let's say it was a misdemeanor. If it was a misdemeanor conviction, could she talk about it? I,I don't think so. Cuz it's notA felony cause it's not a felony.What if it was a misdemeanor for theft though? If it was a crime involving dishonesty? I,I would think so if it's like a theft related.Yep. That's right.You would be right. We have a winner,A winner.Nicely done. Andy that's that's what I call sweet redemption right there. <laugh>I'd like to use my $10,000 to buy more whiskey<laugh> <laugh> wouldn't we
All <laugh>. Well, um, Andy, we, we really appreciate you being a contestant on our, uh, little show here. Can you tell us, is there anything that, uh, you would like to plug for our listeners? Anything that, uh, your business, anything on your mind?
Sure. Um, you know, obviously I'm the owner of home care assistance of Denver. We have five offices of home care assistance in Colorado. I cover basically from Ava to Stapleton, to wash park and we provide non-medical home care, uh, focusing on keeping our clients healthy and active in their homes. And as Russ mentioned, we are a five star rated Google business. Our clients love us and our caregivers stay with us a long time. Uh, we just love what we do. And in the next 10 years, Denver is just gonna boom, in terms of people needing help. So
We, so if any, if any listeners out there have, uh, parents, grandparents who could just use a little extra help, look 'em up home care assistance of Denver. Andy is awesome. He is a hard worker. He is passionate and they will really take care of your loved ones. Awesome.Well, thank you, you so much for joining us in. We really appreciate your time. Thanks for havingMe. This was fun. Awesome. ThankYou. Have a good one.Bye-bye take care. Bye-bye byebye.
All right. Welcome back to the show. And now we're gonna move on to another trial that's going on right now, right Russ. That's right. We're gonna talk about the gasoline Maxwell case and this stems out of the, uh, Epstein prosecution, Jeffrey Epstein, Jeffrey Epstein prosecution, where while Mr. Epstein was awaiting trial, he was found hanged in his cell. So he committed suicide prior to get into trial. Now there are a bunch of conspiracy theories about that suicide. Um, maybe we'll do another podcast at some point on that. I, I think there are whole books that have been written about, about Jeffrey Epstein and his charges. And, uh, we're not really gonna go into all that. Um, but, uh, we are interested in Ms. Maxwell, uh, because Russ, what, what is, what is the accusation here? Here's the
Accusations. The accusations are that essentially between 2002 and 2005, Mr. Epstein and his employees are alleged including now guess lane Maxwell are alleged to have brought girls as young as 14 to his properties. He had a mansion on the upper east side of Manhattan. He had a compound in Palm beach, Florida. He had a ranch in New Mexico there. The indictment says he and others applied the girls with gifts in cash, pressured them to perform naked massages and sex act and sent them out to recruit other girls to fulfill Mr. Epstein's desires. And these,these Epstein and Maxwell met a long time ago. I think they were both really big socialite. Yes. And they, they played in, they, they swam in really big circles, rub shoulders with some really powerful people. I mean, Donald Trump, uh, bill cliff and, um, prince, prince Andrew. Exactly. And, and I mean the, these, these were very, very wealthy, powerful people. And I think, uh, you know, part of the allegation here is that, that they used their wealth and power to particularly young women. They, you know, they, they would say, oh yeah, come to our, our state, come to our, our mansion. Um, you know, we can, we can help you with your career goals, you know, basically classic grooming behavior on the part of Maxwell who had also been, uh, if I'm not mistaken, had been in a relationship with Epstein a long time ago, they were very, very close with each other. Oh yeah. They been for a long time. Yeah. Yeah. No. I
Mean, they, they are like intimate for years and years. Right. And like there's stories out there that, you know, Epstein had just this voracious sexual appetite and, um, Ms. Maxwell was just doing everything she could to satiate him. Right. And, and that involved these allegations of sex trafficking. But before we get those, I wanna just, it's just humorous to me how she got arrested and what she did because Jeffrey Epstein was charged first before she was like, they were still continuing an investigation into her to see if there were any charges. When he was indicted, he was arrested. He was in jail and she just fell off the grid. Right. And she fell off
The grid in a noticeable way too, because again, this is a woman who, if there was a red carpet, she was being photographed on it. Right, right. I mean, it like any big event, she would make an appear. And then all of a sudden, right. Coinciding with, with the Epstein charges, she drops off the face of the earth. She
Basically disappears now. Um, she, she tried to disappear. Right. What, what she did is she went and bought a 156 acre property in New Hampshire, very secluded, we're talking no cell service to it. A country, unmarked road, the driveway had nothing, but like a small sign had gates and she never left that property. So little, did she know that, you know, the FBI has ways of tracking people and they actually were able to locate her via a cell own calls. She made it, it
Took a while. Um, you know, she's, she's laying low dodging service because what's going on here. The walls are closing in, Epstein's been charged he's in jail. And, um, some of the accusers of Epstein's are filing, they're filing civil lawsuits against his estate, as well as against Maxwell. She's trying to Dodge sir service for those lawsuits. But then she makes one call to her lawyer one day and the FBI is tracking her phone. And they're able to figure out with a cell phone tower where she is. Yeah. And
She's, she's, she's dodging civil service. She's also trying to avoid being arrested. Absolutely. And when she was brought in, she was arrested like the FBI peeks in through the window, cuz she's not answering the door after they busted through the gate and they see her like scam her into the next room and close the door behind. Right.And she's, she was absolutely a flight risk too, because she had dual citizenship. I think she's a, a, she had she's UK citizenship. Um, I think another country asWell, she had something like five, four or five different passports.It, so she had tons of means. So if she wanted to be gone, she could have been gone.
And, and because of that, there was a no bond hold. Right. Which means she is not allowed to post bond. She is sitting in custody until her trial, which is going on now. So that brings us full circle right back to where we wanna be, which is she is facing these sex trafficking charges. She is alleged to have BA basically facilitated and transported. These girls some as young as 14 from different states into Jeffrey, Epstein's various properties for the purpose of these sexualized massages. And that's what she's been charged with sex trafficking charges. Um, some perjury counts based on some, some depositions she tookAnd these are all federal crimes. This is being charged in United States, federal court in, uh, in the district of Manhattan. Why are they federal? Uh, because multi-state, uh, this is, this is, this is an FBI federal investigation involving trafficking. It's very, very common for these to be federal charges, as opposed to, uh, like one state bringing the charges and, andHer defense is Essent. The prosecution has politicized this, this is political. They lost Jeffrey Epstein because he killed himself. They wanna hold someone responsible. So I am a convenient
Scapegoat. Exactly, exactly. But you know, she's facing, from what I could tell, there are four separate accusers, uh, who are now older, but they're gonna be testifying that these things happened that, you know, they're going into detail about how they met, uh, Maxwell, how she groomed them. Yeah. How she would turn them over to EP Epstein, what Epstein demanded of them. There's, there's four accusers,
But only three victims because one of the accusers was 17 at the time. Got it. Which was the age of consent. So she is still testifying about this grooming. And for anyone who doesn't know, grooming is basically what, um, you know, law enforcement and prosecutors basically say sex offenders are basically go through these stages of getting these Vic ultimate victims of sex crimes comfortable. Yeah. So getting 'em to trust, get 'em to trust. So, you know, and, and what Giselle or Gelle
We're, we're trying to figure how to pronounce her name. I think it's actually technically pronounced. Ooh, it's French. Uh, but Giselle,Giselle, gazelle, Ms. Maxwell, Ms. Maxwell. Tell with that mix mass mix Mixmaster Maxwell. <laugh> Ms. Maxwell Master flash Maxwell. Right. Ms. Maxwell is saying, Hey, just because I took these girls shopping and I asked them about their families, right. Doesn't mean I was grooming them. Right.Epstein was the monster. It's not me kind of the, and,And that's where some of the questioning has gone with, uh, with witness well
Examination. And, you know, from what I've seen, the cross examination of these accusers, I mean, some of them have successfully sued the Epstein estate and recovered money recovered damages. Yes. And you know, so of course, uh, the attack, uh, for cross examination on those witnesses is, okay, well, you're, you made a lot of money on this. Uh, you know, you, this, this, this didn't really hurt you financially did it. And if you testified to something different, right. Um, you know, you might not, uh, enjoy this windfall anymore. And ifThere's any money to be had in the future, you're not gonna get it. If he wasn't this monster, if she wasn't this monster who sexually abused you.Yeah. So we'll see where it all shakes out. Um, but that's, uh, that's the Maxwell trial. And, um, I think we, we've got now a special addition of DCOTW.
Oh, that's right. And, uh, as, uh, as we tease at the beginning of the show today, we're gonna do a little bit of an expanded DCOTW. Um, because we're gonna be talking about Jussie Smollett, which is another high profile case that is going on right now. In fact, I believe closing arguments are happening in this misdemeanor trial, as we speak at the moment who knows by the time this podcast drops, there might be a verdict. We'll see. Um, we're, we're breaking ranks a little bit Russ on this one. Uh, I mean our friend, Mr. Smollett has not been convict of anything yet. We are calling him a dumb criminal of the week though. Um, let's get into a shall we we're,We're just gonna go out on a limb and say, he's gonna get convicted, but we could be wrong. It's happened before.I, I I'm, I suspect that many of you are at least familiar with, uh, the name of this man, but, um, here is the rundown. Uh, Jussie Smollett is an actor and he was prominently featured on a show called empire, very popular show. Um, he is African American. He's also gay. This, this matters in terms of what we're gonna be talking about here, uh, because what he alleges is on January 29th, 20, he says that while he was in sh he was living in Chicago, Illinois. He says that he left his, uh, home at around two in the morning. And he says that he was attacked out of the shadows by two or three individuals who were saying thing. They were calling him the N-word. They were calling him a, uh, racial or pardon me, a homophobic slow. Um, and they were saying, this is Maga country, meaning make America great again. Um, and basically saying that he was attacked by individuals that this was a, a, an attack that was a hate crime, essentially because gaysOr blacks
Are not welcome there. That's correct. Now, he, this, this happened, this, this attack happens a week or so after he claims that while he was on the empire set, he received hate mail, uh, that, that depicted, uh, him being hung by a noose. And, um, it's notable that a week later when this attack happens, uh, he claims that these people poured bleach on his head and put a noose around his neck. Now, now,
When he ultimately reported it to the police, whereWas the news? Well, couple things right there. First of all, he did not wanna report this to the police for us. I mean, he, he, he goes home. He talks to some friends about this. His friends called the police. He's like, no, no, no, I don't want the police called. Uh, but they, they call the police. And when the police show up, he still has the noose around his neck, which the police found is a little odd, but he provides an account of what happened. Now, there starts to be an unraveling of his story, Russ. Um, first of all, in the first three or so weeks, this case was everywhere. Um, you know, political figurehead are making statements about this. This was a terrible attack on this young actor. Um, I mean, famous people are coming to his rescue saying, wow, this was horrible. I can't believe this happened.
But then the, the Chicago police department, meanwhile, are doing a thorough investigation in this. And they realize that, you know, first of all, uh, Smolletts accountable, what happened, he's making that are inconsistent. Like, for example, he offers some details. Like, for example, he, he says at first that these guys were wearing like a ski mask, but then he says they were wearing Maga hats. Like his story started to change. And then they started questioning, well, why would these people be waiting outside of your house at two in the morning? He said he was going to subway. Then he said he was into a convenience store. His story just doesn't start making sense. Okay.
Well, the, the subways are one of my favorites, cuz I mean, I don't know where, how, how, what the hours are on subways near everyone outThere. But I'm pretty sure that open at two in the morning. Yeah. Two,2:00 AM. Subway runs. Don't sound like they'd get that much
Traffic. Well, well here's where his undo really a focus is they do have very limited security footage. There's no security footage of this alleged assault, but uh, there is security footage around that time showing two people walking away from the area, the police are able to identify who these two guys are and it turns out they are two Nigerian men. They're they're black. And, uh, they are one of 'em is a personal trainer and former lover of Jussie Smollett. And so they interview him and these people are like, uh, yeah, well, here's what happened, Jussie, uh, paid us $3,500, uh, to stage an attack. He wanted us to say, uh, you know, to, to, to use racial and homophobic slurs. And they paid us 3,500 bucks. Here's what we did. We went out, we bought some bleach, we brought this new here's our receipts for it. They make statements basically indicating that this is a hoax and,
And they not only made statements, but they had theCheck. They, they had the check and the check, uh, showing $3,500 what's introduced at trial with, see, Smollett says was actually, it was like nutrition and personal training fees. Cuz he says, this guy was my personal trainer. So where we are at with this case for us is, is Juy has interestingly enough, he was originally charged with this offense, the district attorney of cook county and her name is Kim Fox. She added, you know what, um, there's not a crime here. We're gonna let this go. You have to do 16 hours community service and we'll call it a day. There's a huge public uproar about this, uh, reporting, uh, by media outlets report that this is costing the city of Chicago, $150,000. So Fox relentless and appoints a special prosecutor. So a special prosecutor, investigate, a char uh, case reinstates, all of the false reporting charges against Smollett. And so he is currently on trial for, uh, misdemeanor offenses related to false reporting to authorities. These are all misdemeanor offenses. He's probably not going to prison if he's convicted. But what he's saying, Russ is the interesting thing he's saying, oh yeah, I was still attacked. Uh, this was insane. It was, it was these guys and I don't know why they attacked me, but uh, I didn't, I didn't pay 'em I didn't uh, do any of this stuff. They just attacked these black men attacked me calling me the N-word calling me <laugh>. I
Mean, I mean, I've said it once. I'll say it again. The best defense is a good offense, Colin.Well, and there's no such thing as bad press, right. <laugh> I mean, um, so, uh, that's what's going on with Mr. Smollett. It's ridiculous. Um, I am expecting him to get convicted. I, I mean, I guess it's possible that if there's one person on that show or on that jury who just really, really loves empire, they might walk him. But haveYou ever seen empire? I'veHeard it's excellent. I I've never actually seen it. No, no. I've heard it's excellent. So I, I had no idea who this man was until I read about this case. As, as, asThe, uh, prosecutor, like that's a question you have to cover in jury selection. Are you a big fan of this show? <laugh> cause if you are, you may not be the right juror here.It's it's, it's very bizarre. He did take the stand in his own defense, by the way, he said that this was not a hoax, that he was attacked by these people. He doesn't really know why. SoIt's just a coincidence that one of them is his personal trainer and ex lover. And, and it's a coincidence that <laugh>, he, he didn't describe that to the police when he initially talked to him.
Yeah. I mean, you know, Russ, we, we sometimes talk maybe not enough about why did these cases go to trial because if I'm this guy's agent or his lawyer, I'm probably saying, look, this needs to end right now or his, you need to plea guilty. You need to accept responsibility if you want, if you ever want a shot at a job again, do not just double down and say that, uh, you didn't falsely report this. This is pretty overwhelming guiltHere. So question for you, like you said, 150,000, that, that seems to me that that would be associated with the trial, like for media accommodations and things like that. Was that 150 prior to that? Or do you know?I, I actually don't know. I, I, in the research that I did, what I saw is that this investigation of Mr based on his allegations, uh, that ended up costing the city of Chicago, about $150,000, I presume in law enforcement resources. Gosh.
So, so there's gonna be way more expense with this trial then, cuz you do have to have media accommodation. I mean, I mean some high profile cases here in, in Colorado, like you, they had to build whole new parking lots for the media.Well, and, and, and obviously we're having fun with this, but I, I mean just the serious note on this case is, you know, if, if he's actually convicted, if he, if he actually did stage this hoax, I mean, this is the type of thing that really undermines, um, you know, the presence of the police, you know, or the, the authority of the police in a place like Chicago, where there's already tensions there. I mean this in the fact that he appears to be completely remorseless and it's just doubling down on this ridiculous story, right. Is, I mean, I don't know. I, I, maybe he might get jail time if he's convicted.I think he might based on that. I mean, if I'm a judge, I am thinking long and hard about, as you said, the lack of remorse and the, the, just putting the city through this. Yeah. Like the, I mean, right. Let, let's get to knucklehead because, because
I know, I know where mine is. You goFirst. I mean, I cannot in good conscience give anything but a five knucklehead on this. Oh yeah, absolutely. Like this is now watch. He's gonna get acquitted. Yeah. Be like the 10 knucklehead guy from his, this legal, it isNot guilty. We were wrong about our, our last predictions, uh, with the, regarding the written house case, maybe our, our, you know, our, we're gonna get this one wrong against you. I feel, I feel better aboutThis one though. <laugh> written the written house. I thought there was a defense there. Yeah, exactly. This one. Yeah. It's tough to get past it.
Here's here's here's uh, here's my thought I'm, I'm I'm 100% with you. I'm given all five. If I had six, I'd give six <laugh>. Um, but here's what is interesting to me, this guy really thought that this would escape the attention of law enforcement. I think what his intention was, according to the brothers who he hired to beat him up <laugh> uh, they said they were hoping this was gonna make a splash on social media. They were hoping that he was hoping this was gonna be something that would be discussed in Twitter, Facebook circles. So, you know, imagine this idiot surprise when the police show up and say, oh, we see that someone beat you up and you know, uh, was involved in this pretty nasty hate crime. Oh no, I don't want you to come and investigate this. No big dealHere, officer. Right. Even, even that like best case scenario for him is that, that like, how does someone really think that after it breaks and makes this splash, that it's not gonna be criminally invested. Right.
So, and absurd. And of course that's where as I'm doing was he just starts making all these inconsistent statements and finds himself right here on trial, uh, with everybody watch inThis case. I mean, everyone listening out there, if we've told you, once, we've told you a hundred times, won't make statements to the police <laugh> so he shoulda listened to some previous as thisLegal, he should have listened to anybody other than the idiots who said, Hey, I've got a great idea for you, Jess. You want to get some PR, wanna get some positive PR going, listen To this.
Anyone other than the little voice inside his head. Oh boy. So he prob he probably got advice from a screech. What screech hiss name? Dustin diamond. Dustin diamond. Who dropped the fake sex date. Yep. <laugh> like, it's it's right about
By the way, Dustin diamond. Yeah. Um, well, uh, yeah, I think we're gonna end on that one. We'll see what happens, uh, with, uh, Jussie of course we will update you. And, um, in the meantime, of course, uh, please reach out to us, let us know what you think of our podcast. Do you have any ideas for future cases? Is there a case out there that you think we should be talking about? Let us know, where can they find us Russ
On Twitter at is this legal pod on Facebook Hebets McCallin, or just find us on our website and drop us an email. Yep. So thank you so much for listening. We will see you next time. Take care, everyone.