In a stunning reversal, Chicago prosecutors have dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett just weeks after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report.
The “Empire” actor, 36, was seen arriving at a Chicago courtroom around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday (Mar. 26) for an unscheduled hearing. He won’t be prosecuted and he will forfeit the $10,000 bail he posted after his arrest.
Following his court appearance, his attorneys released a statement. “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,” said Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
The statement concluded, “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.”
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 26, 2019
Jussie’s family also released a statement celebrating the news. “This morning truth has prevailed and [Jussie] has been vindicated,” they said. “While many were quick to rush to judgment before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light. We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice.”
In February, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct after Chicago officers said he orchestrated an alleged hate crime on himself because he was unhappy with his salary on “Empire.”
Smollett told police that he was attacked by two men near his Chicago apartment on Jan. 29. During the incident, the alleged assailants yelled racial and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Smollett thanked his supporters while maintaining his innocence. “I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he said. “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, 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 also thanked the State of Illinois “for attempting to do what’s right,” adding, “Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”