All charges against actor Jussie Smollett who had been accused of staging a hate crime and filing a false police report about it have been dropped, prosecutors and his attorneys said Tuesday.
The decision to drop charges is a dramatic reversal in a case in which Chicago police alleged just last monththat the 36-year-old “Empire” actor hired two acquaintances to attack him in late January to promote his career.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office didn’t immediately explain why the felony disorderly charges were dropped, except to say it came after reviewing the case’s facts, and in view of his agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond.
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’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 state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
Smollett, who was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, had pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any involvement in orchestrating an attack. He was in a Chicago courthouse Tuesday morning for an emergency hearing in his case.
His attorneys have long said a lot of misinformation about the case had been publicized. On Tuesday, they maintained that the actor indeed was attacked in Chicago on January 29, and that he has been hurt by “unfair and unwarranted actions” that made it appear as if he staged it.
“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,” a statement released by his attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes reads.
“This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion,” the statement reads. “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.”