Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

All charges dropped against 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett in alleged staged attack

In a stunning move, prosecutors in Chicago dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett on Tuesday, a month after he was hit with felony counts stemming from what police said was a staged street attack on himself in an attempt to get a pay raise.

Smollett appeared at an an emergency court hearing in Chicago Tuesday, where prosecutors told a judge they were dismissing the 16 charges of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report against the 36-year-old actor.

While it was not immediately clear what prompted prosecutors to drop the charges against Smollett, a spokesperson for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office noted that the actor will forfeit a $100,000 bond.

The spokesperson, however, said that there was no plea deal, but rather an “agreement,” and that no community service will be required of Smollett.

“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.”

Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, released a statement confirming that all charges had been dropped.

“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 defense 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 judgement.”

The attorneys added, “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.

They said Smollett “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.”

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29, he was walking on a street near his apartment around 2 a.m. when he was set upon by two men. The attackers allegedly shouted racist and homophobic slurs before hitting him, pouring “an unknown chemical substance” on him — possibly bleach — and wrapping a rope around his neck, he told detectives.

In a strident statement released shortly after defense attorneys announced thaty the charges were dropped Smollett’s family reiterated the actor’s innocence, and subsequent victimization by skeptics.

“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” the family said in a statement. “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.”

While Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was expected to speak late Tuesday morning, Chicago police officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the developments in court.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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