Felony charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Madeline Buckley, TMZ, and The Blast. In addition, the judge has agreed to seal the case, and Smollett’s record will be expunged, CBS Chicago reports.
Smollett made a statement after it was announced that the charges would be dropped. “I have 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 have been accused of.”
Smollett’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes released the following 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. 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.
During a joint press conference with CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel condemned Smollett and the dismissal, calling it a “whitewash of justice” and criticizing the actor for not showing remorse for the “moral and ethical wrong of his actions.” Chicago Tribune reporter Megan Crepeau reports that the prosecution and defense in Smollett’s case reached an agreement “at some point awhile back” that the actor’s charges would be dropped “if Smollett did community service and forfeited his bond.”
In an interview with CBS Chicago, First Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Joseph Magats—the prosecutor—said that the dropped charges do not vindicate or exonerate Smollett. “I do not believe he is innocent,” he said.
Jussie Smollett had been charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. He turned himself in to authorities in Chicago on February 21 and was released on bond the same day. He later pled not guilty. Days following the charges, “Empire” producers announced that he would be cut from the final two episodes of the show’s current season.
According to Deadline, in a joint statement following the dismissal, 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment said, “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
On January 29, it was reported that Jussie Smollett had been attacked in Chicago by two men. Police initially treated the incident as a hate crime in their investigation. Smollett claimed that his assailants called him homophobic and racist slurs, put a rope around his neck, poured bleach on him, yelled “this is MAGA country,” and fled.
Two men (identified as brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo) were arrested and questioned by police in connection with the alleged attack on February 13. Two days later, Smollett was categorized as a suspect in the case after the Osundairos were released from police custody without criminal charges.
Jussie Smollett’s family initially released a statement calling the incident an “inhumane act of domestic terrorism.” Smollett later appeared on “Good Morning America,” where he said of the alleged incident: “I’m pissed off. It’s the attackers, but it’s also the attacks.”
In a new statement, Smollett’s family said, “Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared.” They added, “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.”
Officials from the Chicago Police Department called for Smollett to apologize during a press conference held after the actor’s arrest, saying that “absolute justice would be: an apology to this city that he smeared; admitting what he did; and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up.” Authorities claimed the actor sent himself “a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic, and political language” before paying the Osundairo brothers to stage the attack on him.
This article was originally published on March 26 at 11:20 a.m. Eastern. It was last update on March 26 at 10:55 p.m. Eastern.