Charges dropped against Jussie Smollett, attorneys say

Jussie Smollett: “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level”

All criminal charges against “Empire” actor” Jussie Smollett have been dropped and “his record has been wiped clean,” his attorneys said Tuesday in a statement.

A judge also granted a motion to seal the case, CBS Chicago reported.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office called the development “a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” although it wasn’t clear what prompted the move to drop the charges.

Less than two weeks ago, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime. Smollett has insisted he is innocent and said Tuesday he has been “truthful and consistent” since the beginning.

Statement from Smollett’s attorneys

Smollett’s attorneys, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.”

“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.

“Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”

Statement from Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday.

Smollett had posted $10,000 bond to be released from jail after he was arrested in late February.

Chicago mayor: “This is a whitewash of justice”

Chicago mayor on dropped Smollett charges: “This is a whitewash of justice”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday “this is a whitewash of justice.” He and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke after the charges against Smollett were dropped without an explanation from prosecutors.

Emanuel said this “sends a clear message that if you’re in a position of influence and power you’ll get treated one way, other people will be treated another way.”

“There is no accountability, then, in the system. It is wrong, full stop,” he said.

“Our officers did hard work day in and day out, countless hours, working to unwind what actually happened that night,” he said. “The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud.”

Johnson said the city “is still owed an apology.”

“I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so that America could know the truth,” he said. “They chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”

Smollett: “I’ve been truthful and consistent”

Smollett spoke briefly to reporters Tuesday following an “emergency court appearance” in Chicago.

He thanked his family and friends and “the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me, who have shown me so much love.”

He said he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”

“This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life,” he said. “But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”

Smollett said he would like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with his life.

Background: What Smollett was indicted for

A Chicago grand jury charged Smollett earlier this month with 16 felony counts for falsely reporting a hate crime. Smollett was charged last month with a felony charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly making up the hate crime.

The 36-year-old actor, who is black and openly gay, plays Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hit TV show, “Empire,” a drama that chronicles a family-run record label. He told police he was attacked by two masked men when he was returning home from a Subway sandwich store Jan. 29 around 2 a.m.

Smollett claimed the two men had beat him, said homophobic and racial slurs and put a noose around his neck before fleeing. He said he heard, “this is MAGA country,” an apparent reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan.

Police arrested two brothers who they initially linked to the alleged attack. But police said the brothers then said Smollett had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack. Police said they told them the rope that was found around Smollett’s neck was purchased at a nearby hardware store. A raid of their home turned up ropes, masks and bleach.

“We are gratified on his behalf”

The executive producers of the television series “Empire,” which airs on Fox, had removed Smollett’s character from the last two episodes of the show’s season “to avoid further disruption on set.” The move to take the character, Jamal, off the show followed Smollett’s arrest in February.

“While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out,” seven producers said in a statement on February 22.

On Tuesday, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment said in a statement that “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed.”

Categories: Entertainment

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