In a shocking reversal, Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett just weeks after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report.
According to NBC News, Smollett was seen arriving at a Chicago courtroom around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday for an emergency hearing. After his court appearance, his attorneys released a statement saying that the actor’s “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 judgment,” the statement read.
“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.”
In a short news conference, Smollett said he has been “truthful” from the start.
“This has been an incredibility difficult time. Honestly, one of the worst of my life,” he said, adding that he’s ready to get back to his career and life.
Smollett was charged earlier this month by a grand jury of 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report, according to the original criminal complaint.
What happened to Jussie Smollett?
In February, Chicago charged Smollett with felony disorderly conduct after police officers aid he orchestrated the alleged hate crime in January on himself because he was unhappy with his compensation on the Fox hip-hop drama “Empire.”
Smollett told Chicago police officers on January 29th that he was beaten up by two masked men. The actor said his attackers said racist and homophobic slurs before punching him, putting a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him.
Brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo were arrested in February as police investigated the alleged assault but were later released by Chicago police. Currently, according to NBC News, they are not considered suspects.
Smollett was labeled as suspects in his own alleged assault and arrested in February. Prosecutors and police said Smollett allegedly paid the brothers $3,500 via a check to attack him and also gave them money to buy the supplies necessary to carry on the fake hate crime.
He was released from jail after posting $10,000 of his $100,000 bond. Smollett’s attorneys said the actor forfeited his bond over to the city of Chicago.
Following the allegations against Smollett, his role on “Empire” was cut from the final episodes of the fifth season “to avoid further disruption on set.”
The Chicago Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday that after reviewing the case, Smollett’s history of volunteer service, and turning his bond over to the city, “we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”
Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Holmes, lambasted the Chicago Police Department for their handling of the case. Holmes asserted they should “not jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in the court of law.”
“Things seemed to spiral somewhat out of control,” she said.
Smollett’s family praised the decision, issuing a statement saying “truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated.”
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” the family said. “Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of.”
Jussie Smollett always maintained his innocence.