Attorneys for Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that all criminal charges against the “Empire” actor and singer have been dropped.
Smollett had been charged with falsifying a police report by claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
The judge also granted a motion to seal the case, according to CBS Chicago.
“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,” Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement. “Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify. He was a victim. He 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.
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” they continued. “The 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.”
Smollett’s attorneys added: “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.”
“After reviewing all 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,” the Cook County Attorney’s Office said in a separate statement.
Smollett was arrested by police in Chicago on Feb. 21, three weeks after the alleged attack.
The actor told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was leaving a Subway restaurant near his apartment in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. Smollett, who is black and gay, initially said the men shouted racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him and tied a rope around his neck. He claimed the alleged attackers yelled “MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
The actor said he sustained injuries to his clavicle bone and bruised ribs during the attack.
Police later identified and questioned two “persons of interest” captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo, told police that Smollett paid them $3,500 by check to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a threatening letter — addressed to him and sent to the Fox set where “Empire” is filmed — did not get enough attention.
The crude letter was sent in an envelope that contained a powdery substance and had “MAGA” written on it. The substance was later determined to be aspirin. Police said that they believe Smollett sent the letter to himself.
The case garnered national attention.
At a press conference the day of his arrest, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson tore into Smollett over the alleged scheme.
“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “I’m left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose?”
“Accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks,” Johnson continued. “Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.”
Johnson was asked by reporters what he would consider justice in Smollett’s case.
“Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting what he did,” Johnson said.
Two weeks after the reported assault, Smollett appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” telling anchor Robin Roberts he was heartbroken when he found out people were doubting his story.
“Who the f*** would make something up like this?” he asked. “I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate. And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.”
“I think people need to hear the truth,” he added. “’Cause everybody has their own idea. Some are healing and some are hurtful, but I just want young people, young members of the LGBTQ community — young black children — to know how strong that they are.”
Source: yahoo news