Prosecutors have dropped charges in their case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
The 36-year-old had been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report after he told Chicago police in January that he was assaulted by two men who beat him, placed a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him as they yelled racial and homophobic slurs. He later told authorities that the two alleged assailants also shouted the pro-Trump phrase, “This is MAGA country!”
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’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 told ITK in a statement after an emergency court hearing was held in Chicago Tuesday.
“We standby the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case,” the statement continued.
“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,” Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement. “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.”
After Chicago police originally said they considered Smollett the victim of a “possible hate crime,” they later accused him of orchestrating the attack against himself, paying two men to stage it.
“This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his [‘Empire’] salary,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in February during a blistering news conference.
President Trump, who had initially called the alleged attack “horrible,” later attacked Smollett, writing on Twitter to the actor, “what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”
“I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” Smollett told reporters on Tuesday. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.”
“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.”
“I would like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life,” Smollett said. “But make no mistakes: I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
Jussie Smollett: "I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere" pic.twitter.com/OYTtwSulKP
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 26, 2019