A Chicago alderman was arrested Tuesday night for filing a false police report about the theft of a car, leaving many Chicago city officials wondering if he'll be given the same generous deal for his alleged crimes that "Empire" star Jussie Smollett received for his.
Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno was arrested Tuesday evening on charges of insurance fraud and obstruction of justice/filing a false police report for "mistakenly" — he claims — reporting his Audi stolen by an unknown female, Block Club Chicago reports.
Moreno filed a police report for the stolen vehicle with the Chicago Police Department and, apparently, made a claim for the missing car to his insurance. The woman who "stole" the car, a single mother who had been on a date with the alderman, says Moreno allowed her to borrow the car to run errands but instead reported it stolen while it was in her possession.
Moreno claims the incident was a "misunderstanding."
“On May 14, 2019, offender Moreno was placed in custody on charges of insurance fraud and obstruction of justice in relation to a police report Moreno filed on January 4, 2019 in which Moreno claimed his vehicle had allegedly been stolen," Chicago police said in a statement. "Offender was charged accordingly and will appear in Bond Court today. No further information.”
Moreno was released on his own reconnaissance Wednesday morning.
Since "Empire" star Jussie Smollett received a "plea deal" for his alleged role in a fake hate crime, Chicago residents and city officials have been wondering how similar cases of defendants charged with filing a false police report would play out. Smollett, of course, was charged with obstruction of justice for his role in allegedly orchestrating a hate crime attack against himself and then giving seemingly false information to police officers investigating the crime during two separate interviews, one directly after the hate crime occurred, and one a day later.
Smollett was able to discharge those 17 felony counts of obstruction of justice by agreeing to forfeit a $10,000 bond payment and do around 16 hours of community service at Jessie Jackson's Rainbow PUSH headquarters on the city's south side. Although the Cook County State's Attorney's office claimed the "deal" did not grant Smollett innocence, Smollett repeatedly told press that he'd been proclaimed innocent of all charges.
The incident triggered an investigation into Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office, and how the progressive Foxx handles criminal cases. Just a week after the Smollett deal was inked, a violent criminal, allowed to go free by Foxx's office after destroying his home monitoring ankle bracelet, shot two off-duty Chicago police officers, killing one and putting the other into critical condition.
Last week, a suburban Chicago woman made her own case in court that she should be treated for her minor crime the way Jussie Smollett was treated. The argument earned her the sympathy of the judge, who denounced the unofficial Smollett plea deal in open court, and earned her free representation from a noted Chicago criminal defense attorney.
Moreno's case may be the best test case to see if prosecutors extend the same courtesy to high profile defendants who aren't television stars.