We joked about The Washington Swamp. We knew it was corrupt. But until a few days ago, we did not know how corrupt. It was only then that we could connect the dots and understand how corrupt justice has become.

For instance, we knew that accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein escaped decades in prison with a plea bargain struck with then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta. The deal was noteworthy. Acosta approved a year of work release, a sentence which allowed the pedophile to work in public and use his prison cell as a temporary hotel room. It was so disgusting that Acosta, years afterward, was forced to resign as President Trump’s Secretary of Labor.

But that was old news. The newer headline was more interesting. It stated that as part of Epstein’s plea bargain, Acosta wrote, “The United States agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Mr. Epstein …” England’s Daily Mail suggested that this was designed to cover the second son of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. Speculation also surrounded the suggestion that former President Bill Clinton was, additionally, part of Acosta’s protection racket. It was a bipartisan act of partisanship, and it was not unique.

This news came just a few years after the FBI and the Justice Department conspired to defend both Hillary Clinton and her staff from multiple counts of both obstruction of justice and violation of the Espionage Act. Not only did she and her staff put classified

information on an unclassified server, they, like Epstein’s conspirators, were given immunity from prosecution. Each escaped punishment for smashing personal communications devices with hammers and destroying subpoenaed emails.

In short, there’s a pattern here. African-American activists are right: Our system of justice is rigged to support the elite and jail the poor. It’s also rigged against the middle class. Is it any wonder why so many people on both the left and the right have lost respect for much of the criminal justice system? Is this one reason why crime is on the rise?

Conservatives feel they have little in common with African-American protesters who march against the justice system. African-Americans similarly feel that they have little in common with conservatives who want Hillary Clinton placed in jail. But neither side understands that their frustrations are related. Neither side trusts the criminal justice system … and for good reason: Jussie Smollett is a prime example.

Smollett was a famous and politically well-connected actor from Chicago. After creating what appears now to be a faked crime report, Smollett escaped any jail time whatsoever. He was even allowed to erroneously claim his innocence. This was done in exchange for Smollett’s free labor at the headquarters of equally well-connected Chicago activist Jesse Jackson. It was another win for the wealthy elite regardless of race. It was a color-blind testament to what is clearly a pattern, the lack of integrity within much of the justice system.

African-Americans blame it on race. But it is much more subtle and much more sinister.

When an unarmed African-American is killed by police, it is not too dissimilar than when a Jeffrey Epstein or a Jussie Smollett walks, and their co-conspirators walk with them. The result is injustice and a growing cynicism of whether the so-called justice system will treat us all fairly. Such distrust that our government will keep us safe becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It results in greater contempt for law enforcement and, therefore, higher crime.

Clearly we need to support both our prosecutors and police, but we should not do so blindly. We need to support the firing of corrupt officials like the FBI’s James Comey; but we also need to support the firing of New York City police officers like Daniel Pantaleo, who placed unarmed African-American Eric Garner in a choke hold that contributed to Garner’s death. These seemingly divergent issues are actually one. They suggest needed justice reform from both sides.

Indeed, almost all prosecutors, police officers and FBI agents are good people. They lie awake at night worried about our safety. For these public servants, we must show the greatest respect. But when unarmed people of any race are shot dead or when the rich escape justice, we must be equally outraged.

Contact Robert M. Levy at Law52@Prodigy.net.

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