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Nuccio DiNuzzo

Jussie Smollett's Brother Pens Op-Ed Questioning "What If Jussie Is Telling The Truth"

Jussie's brother JoJo argues that his brother was convicted in the court of public opinion first.

Jussie Smollet's older brother, JoJo penned an op-ed letter defending his sibling and begged the question: what if Jussie is telling the truth?

The essay, written exclusively for BET.com tackles the holes of the case, the Chicago Police Department and its years of corruption, the statement from the Osundarios brothers, as well as the role media played in helping to "convict Jussie in the court of public opinion before he even entered a courtroom."

"The fact that these two brothers, who in the final hour confessed to attacking my brother yet say it was Jussie who told them to, is all the evidence that the police and the general public needed to be convinced, should be frightening to everyone," Jojo wrote.

JoJo, who owns a nonprofit aimed at helping disabled people enter the workforce, noted that it was underreported the brothers were arrested for attempted murder but secured a plea deal of aggravated battery.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant at about 2 AM when he said he was attacked by two MAGA hat-wearing men. They allegedly beat, kicked him shouted racial and homophobic slurs while trying to tie a noose around his neck and pour bleach on him.

Initially, many of the entertainer's friends took to social media to show support. The Chicago PD alleged the former Empire actor staged the attack because of a financial dispute on the show. JoJo said his brother wasn't strapped for cash.

"Jussie had actually begun directing episodes of Empire, which brought additional compensation. He worked out a deal with Fox to own 100% of his music masters, released an album, which lead to a sold-out world tour and he donated every cent of ticket sales to charity. He even signed the group, June’s Diary, to his label...To suggest that he staged his own attack to boost a sagging career is ludicrous"

JoJo, who's the oldest of the Smollett clan, ended his lengthy essay hoping there are some who are willing to give his brother the benefit of the doubt.

"I am simply hoping there are some conscious-minded people out there who, instead of carelessly victim blaming and shaming, want to loudly ask the simple question: “What if Jussie is telling the truth?”

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Ohio Teen Filmed Himself Having Sex With 14-Year-Old Must Register As A Sex Offender

An Ohio teen must register as a sex offender for the next 25 years for secretly filming himself having sex with a 14-year-old and then showing the sex tape to friends.

The New York Post reports Jeremiah Horton showed four of his friends at North College Hill High School the tape. Those friends then showed others, resulting in Jeremiah's expulsion.

In addition to registering as a Tier 2 second offender, a judge ordered him to spend six months at River City Correctional Center, a rehab facility for nonviolent felony offenders. Horton faced up to three years in a correctional facility.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate, but you did something you shouldn’t have done, obviously,” Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker told the teen. “And there’s a price to pay.”

Charges were filed in December when the 14-year-old girl's mother found the tape and took it to local authorities. Jeremiah was one of four teens prosecuted for his part. While in court, Horton pled guilty and apologized to the victim and her family.

“I’m not proud of what I did,” Horton said.

 

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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Drew Angerer

Facebook Bans Maryland Artist For Turning 'MAGA' Hats Into Klan Hood And Swastika

A Maryland artist says her livelihood is in jeopardy after Facebook banned her page prohibiting her from contacting her followers of upcoming art shows. The offense? Turning Donald Trump's 'MAGA' hats into Ku Klux Klan hoods and Swastikas.

Kate Kretz says she rips apart the well-known red Make America Great Again hat and turns them into other divisive symbols. While speaking with WUSA 9, she said her art is meant to start a dialogue.

"The armband is actually titled, 'Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,' and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats because they’re afraid of violence," Kretz said. "It’s not really up to the wearer to say 'oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.' "

Kretz said she mostly received positive feedback, but about four or five days after an image of a reimagined Swastika band made from the red MAGA hat appeared, Facebook shut down her page citing it violated community standards. Kretz appealed the decision but says she hasn't heard anything.

The Mount Rainier, Md resident said she buys knock-off MAGA hats for her art. "I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting any money in [Trump’s] pocket,” Kretz said.

And while she knows art is subjective, as one of the many artists that help to make Facebook, she thinks Facebook should exercise more diplomacy.

"I understand doing things for the greater good," Kretz said. "However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

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