Prosecutor, Cook County, Attorney discussed on The Takeaway
It's all things considered from NPR news. I'm Audie Cornish. Elsa chang. There is still a lot of head scratching over what happened in the case of Jesse small let he's the actor who is indicted on sixteen felony counts related to allegedly filing a false police report. He said he had been the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. And then yesterday prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois dropped all charges in what they called an alternative prosecution. They noted that small let had done community service and forfeited his ten thousand dollar bond for some reaction. We called former Cook County prosecutor Eric Sussman. I asked him whether he has ever seen anything like this, quite frankly, I haven't seen a reversal bike this by either my former colleagues on the state side or the federal side not without there being some very significant change in the evidence, which according to the state's attorney's office. There hasn't been I wanna talk about this phrase. We keep. Hearing alternative prosecutions what sort of the rationale behind this program. So people can move on with their lives. They don't have charges on their record. So they can get jobs. Exactly, the the rationale behind the program is look people make mistakes reasons in their pass such as if you have a drug addiction, or you're a veteran who has suffered with PTSD those types of issues the way, those work is okay, we will after a certain period of time agreed to drop the charges in exchange. You will do community service. You will go to a drug treatment program. You will do these types of things assuming you do what you're supposed to do. Then we will drop the charges with the prosecution is calling this in terms of an alternative prosecution is not something that was ever envisioned by the legislators when they designed these types of programs or by the courts, it seems like the prosecutors are. Trying to put a round peg in a square hole here by calling this alternative prosecution rather than calling it what it is. Which is we're not comfortable going forward in airing this case in the public now small let has been speaking out. He is denying that he had done anything wrong. He in fact, he said I'm quoting here. I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one and his lawyers chiming in and saying look, this is a guy who's a victim. Who was then vilified do you usually see people who receive alternative prosecutions show some contrition some remorse as a prosecutor. You would look for acceptance of responsibility by the prosecutor in a judge would expect that that's why this is not an alternative prosecution. Prosecutors do not just drop charges and allow someone to go out there and say I did nothing wrong. And I was in essence wrongfully charged and on the flip side. I think it's important. To note, the state's attorney's office is out there saying, oh, no. He did do something wrong. We do have evidence. And quite frankly, they need to stop saying that it's improper for them to be saying that at this point about someone that they have dropped the charges against. So it seems like contradictory. Things are happening. Yes. When I was in the Cook County state's attorney's office there were situations where we dropped prosecutions, despite the fact that we believed that someone was guilty. We did those generally under a circumstance where a witness had recanted or evidence that once was available to us is no longer available to us, and what we would say in those circumstances is we do not have sufficient evidence to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this person committed the crime that again is not what the prosecutors are seeing here what they're saying. Here is we have the evidence. Jesse smollet is guilty. But for reasons that we do not want to share with the public. We're dropping the case. Eric sussman. Former first assistant state's attorney for Cook County, Illinois, he's now a partner at the law firm Reed Smith, thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks salsa. We have reached out to the Cook County state's attorney's office and are waiting to hear back. President Trump says he's going to make the GOP the party of healthcare. But he's told his Justice department to support illegal effort to cancel the Affordable Care Act known as a Bama care. This is a reversal from the administration's previous position to let the popular parts of the law stand, for instance, the law barring insurers from charging people more for pre existing conditions. The threat to ObamaCare was a winning campaign issue for House Democrats, and it's been a source of frustration for Republicans have tried and failed to repeal. It many times to talk more about this. We have Representative Tom Reid of New York. He's a Republican co-chair of the house problem solvers caucus, welcome to all things considered. That's great to be with you for having me on. So just so everyone's clear about what we're talking about. The administration is backing a lower court ruling that says the ObamaCare system should be. Wiped out because the tax plan that you all pass last year took away the penalty for not having health insurance. And if the supreme court rules that ObamaCare is out we will have a plan that's far better than ObamaCare. So as this makes its way through the courts does the party have any kind of alternative to right now. Well, you know, I believe we do in the sense of our our solutions being based on bring a market pressure to bear into the healthcare arena to drive these costs down. However with the votes, right? Is that's been the problem definitely can repeal it. You just can't seem to come up with an alternative. And that's exactly the issue. And that's one of the reasons I I disagree with the position of repealing the entire law through the judicial system to the court system. I I'm a Republican who believes that you know, what we should do is proactively address the problems of healthcare and lead the provisions that we agree with the pre existing condition protection, for example, allow that to remain as the laws land and move forward. And I think that's going to be the case, regardless of what happens in the court system. You've called this a poor political move. I did not only substantively does it put millions of Americans in harm's way. If the court agrees with the Justice, permanent, the whole law needs to be ruled unconstitutional, I think politically to not have a concrete proposal. No concrete plan on the reply. Side that we could roll out with the votes with democrat Republican support to get to the president's signed into law is risky puts a lot of people are rightfully so and then anxious position and politically that causes us to be a. A weaker position in my political opinion. Now, that's just my opinion. But you know, that's why I disagree with this both on political and substantive basis. You said anxious position. Do you feel that Republicans won't be known as the party of healthcare? Right. That the somehow be the party against healthcare. I think we're going to be a party that's going to offer solutions. And I just hope that what we can do is. We have that debate is bring Democrats to the table that want to be practical that want to actually solve this problem of healthcare costs ever creasing lover hate the Affordable Care Act. It does not doing what they promised. They would do and that's spring healthcare costs down, and what we should be doing this Republicans and Democrats finding ways to lower drug prices for folks seniors in particular, lower access cost to healthcare overall and show these benefits in patients pocket as opposed to negotiated between the carriers and administrators so far the problem. Solvers caucus has not solved any problems, right? I think there's been one major piece of legislation guys have sponsored related to opioid abuse. Which was fairly popular. I mean, what's your sponsor the criticism that this group gives the appearance of compromise? But doesn't have action especially on an issue like healthcare a fundamentally I fundamentally. Vigorously disagree with your assessment. We haven't solved any problems. That's just false. What we have done is. We got prison reform criminal Justice reform. We were the voice in the house. They got that through the house Senate into the president's desk signed into law. We have changed the house rules is the problem solvers caucus members so uniting together to empower members to bring legislation to the floor changing the rules of the house of representatives is generational institutional reform that the magnitude of that impact cannot be discounted. So we are we are moving forward with solutions many issues, and we're not we're we're I wanted to tell you, you know, we're not looking to solve the issues with our proposals one way or the highway. It's our way or the highway. We take input we tried to influence the agenda in a positive way. And if a piece of it gets to the finish line war good with that too. It's not all about our ideas is about solving problems with people back home. That's Tom Reid of New York. Republican congressman thank you for speaking. With us. All right. Thanks for having me on India announced today that it has successfully tested a satellite killing weapon. NPR's Jeff Brumfield has more on the test. And what it could mean for the region. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced the test at a national address pot up the arch up on our nam unthreatened. He says that India now stands tall as a space power VIP hindering as a political scientists to not he says the test apparently used an Indian made missile to strike an Indian made satellite. They launch a missile from their missile test site and intercepted the satellite, which was in orbit at three hundred kilometers in space three hundred kilometers or one hundred eighty six miles is actually a relatively low orbit. No pun intended is relatively low hanging fruit in terms of a kill. But you know, it is it's only the fourth country that's demonstrated capabilities. The other three are China Russia and the United States Brian Weeden with the secure. World foundation. He says there's an anti-satellite arms race happening right now. And there are no arms control treaties to stop it organizations. Like the UN regularly talk about limiting weapons in space. But there really hasn't been any serious discussion about dealing with ground based anti satellite weapons. Weeden says the main danger is debris that can be created by hitting a satellite a two thousand seven test by China's speed thousands of fragments into orbit many are still up there. So the concern would be that if there's a future conflict between US China US, Russia, India and China or India Pakistan that these weapons might be used and lower Thorpe, it might become filled with deadly shrapnel could knock out other non-military satellites VIP Narang says he sees another purpose behind India's test today to strike the satellite. The Indian military used to. Missile designed to intercept other missiles hitting a satellite is similar to striking an incoming warheads. So the tests may actually be about missile defense. If that's the case, then it's also designed to send a message. They'll say it's directed towards any other country, but this is clearly relevant.