The false accuser and the malicious witness


You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. – Exodus 23:1

If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. – Deuteronomy 19:16-19

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. – Deuteronomy 19:15

Have you heard of or read the Jussie Smollett incident? His story has changed a few times, details either left out at the first telling now coming into focus, or details given at the first telling now appearing to be false. Is he, or was he lying then, or now? Or is this how it usually goes when someone reports an assault to the police? Is he a false accuser, or did it really happen the way(s) he said? Is his manager a malicious witness or a truthful one? I don’t know the answers yet, but I do know what should be done. His story is being investigated by the Chicago police. If it is found to be true and the attackers are identified and arrested, they should be tried for first degree assault and, if found guilty, should receive the penalty under the law.

What if there was actually no assault? Then we have a false accuser/malicious witness. ….if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. That’s what should happen, the false accuser and malicious witness, in this case two people, should be tried on the proper legal charges. I wish they, and all false accusers, could be tried on the same charge they leveled and if convicted, given the same penalty, but our laws are too mild in this regard. That’s why we aren’t purging evil from our midst. Here are actual charges that can be prosecuted:

If the case had gone to court and the two accused arrested and charged, they might be able to sue in civil court for the intentional tort of malicious prosecution, but they will face some challenges in proving their case. Malicious prosecution lets you hold someone else civilly liable (meaning you can get compensation in the form of financial damages) when they initiate (or cause to be initiated) a criminal or civil case against you, while knowing that the allegations are not true (or without any reasonable grounds to believe they are true), and with a wrongful purpose. Finally, you also must receive a judgment or ruling in your favor in the case, in spite of all those things. That’s a lot to prove. But the trick will be to show that there was an improper motive behind the initiation of the original proceedings (and not merely a lack of sound evidence.) You probably don’t have much in the way of recourse against the county prosecutor who tried and convicted you, since district attorneys and other officials are typically entitled to immunity even when someone winds up being proven innocent after having been convicted of a crime. If the false accusation doesn’t go as far as arrest or trial, there’s still defamation, in the case where someone is accused by name. While the two “attackers” were not named by the “victim”, or false accuser, as the case may be, had they been, it would be defamation.

There are the two main types of defamation cases: libel and slander. Both involve harmful, false statements that cause damage someone’s reputation, but libel requires that the statement be in writing or somehow “published.” With slander, all that is required is that the defamatory statement be spoken to a third party (someone other than you). In many cases, damages (the harm you suffered) are handled differently depending on whether the statement at issue is considered libel or slander. Under defamation laws in most states, falsely accusing someone of having committed a crime is considered “defamatory per se” or “actionable per se.” That means harm is taken as a given in the eyes of the law, and harm to your reputation is presumed. 

Depending on your state’s laws, you may only need to show that the false accuser made the statements, and that the statements were false. This isn’t usually all that easy, but since the statements appear in a police report, that part may be established. I say “may”, because you and I know about times defense attorneys have undermined even such reports. Again, depending on your state’s laws, the false accuser might be liable for any resulting actual damages stemming from the statements — money lost as a result of losing your job, damage to ability to secure new work, and harm to your reputation because of the false accusations of your having committed a serious crime. You may also be entitled to compensation for things like embarrassment and mental anguish.

The latest police response, as of Feb. 18, 2019: Police spent much of Thursday interviewing two persons of interest in the case, who are believed to have been seen on surveillance images on the night of the attack. Rob Elgas, a reporter at ABC 7 in Chicago, reported Thursday afternoon that “multiple sources” said that Smollett and the two men staged the attack because his character was being written off the show. Brad Edwards, a reporter at CBS Chicago, cited a source who said that investigators believe the “non-cooperating 2 witnesses are co-conspirators in a potentially staged attack.” Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that police now believe Smollett paid two men arrested previously and spoke to investigators, adding that police have records of the two men purchasing rope that Smollett said was tied around his neck at a Chicago-area Ace Hardware store.

If all the facts show that the whole thing was a hoax, what, in  my opinion, should be done to Smollett and the two co-conspirators, and his manager (if he was part of the hoax)? If we truly wanted to purge evil, all the parties should be tried and hopefully convicted of assault. Then they should receive the proper prison sentence. But that won’t happen, I’m just saying IT SHOULD!

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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