Jussie Smollett: All Charges Dropped After Alleged Attack
By Antoinette Bueno
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All charges have been dropped against Jussie Smollett.
The 36-year-old Empire actor made an emergency court appearance on Tuesday in Chicago, and he will no longer face charges for allegedly filing a false police report in which he claimed he was the victim of a hate crime.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office tells ET in a statement, "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."
In a later statement, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office shed more light on their decision.
"In the last two years, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office has referred more than 5,700 cases for alternative prosecution," the statement reads. "This is not a new or unusual practice. An alternative disposition does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities with the case or the evidence. We stand behind the Chicago Police Department's investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett. The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett's agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped. This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances."
Smollett's lawyer sent a statement to ET about the stunning turn of developments, and said Smollett was in fact attacked by two people on Jan. 29.
"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," the statement reads. "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 continues. "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."
The Smollett family also sent a statement to ET, and called the actor an "innocent man."
"Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared," the statement reads. "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. He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack. This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated. All charges have been dismissed and his record expunged (cleared). The painful incidents we've witnessed him endure over the past 7 weeks have been heartbreaking and unjust to say the least. While many were quick to rush to judgement 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. We thank God and our village for standing by us during this trying time."
Meanwhile, Empire writers' official Twitter account responded to the news with a simple, "See y'all Wednesday."
"As far as we can tell, the scratching and bruising that you saw on his face were most likely self-inflicted," Johnson alleged. " ... Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career."
Smollett has maintained that he is a victim and denied all allegations that he staged the incident.