drops all 16
and seals all records
in a case full of
twists and turns
Again, the Jussie Smollett case has had more twists and turns than an episode of Empire.
Less than two weeks after the Empire actor pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime, prosecutors have suddenly dropped charges in the case.
Smollett appeared at an emergency court hearing Tuesday morning, where the case was dismissed. The Cook County State Attorney’s office released this statement from Kim Foxx:
“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.”
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 26, 2019
Records of the case will be sealed from public view. It isn’t clear yet how this reversal will affect the current FBI investigation into a threatening letter Smollett received at Cinespace Studios, where the series is filmed.
“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 legal team said in a statement, according to NBC. “Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th.”
The statement continued, “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 concluded, “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 Wrap has published a statement from Smollett’s family:
The Smollett Family released the following statement shortly thereafter. Read that below.
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared. 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.”
Whether this latest news will affect Fox’s renewal of Empire remains to be seen as ratings are still way lower than other seasons.
The Wrap reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has criticized the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office decision, calling it a “whitewash of justice.”
“This is a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said Tuesday afternoon during a joint press conference with the police. “A grand jury could not have been clearer.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also heavily criticized the decision: “Do I think justice was served? No.” he said. “I stand behind the detectives’ investigation.”
Source: CBS Chicago