In a shocking development, all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett have been dropped. The ‘Empire’ actor was accused of staging a phony hate crime against himself, but now, his record has been ‘wiped clean.’
UPDATE 3/27/19, 9:30 PM EST: The FBI is now reportedly reviewing “the circumstances” surrounding “the dismissal” of Jussie Smollett’s 16 felony disorderly conduct charges on March 26, which two unnamed law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC7. HollywoodLife has reached out to the FBI for comment.
UPDATE 3/26/19, 6:15PM EST: TMZ reports that Jussie Smollett completed two days of community service with Jesse Jackson‘s the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and “that was enough to satisfy prosecutors in Chicago.” The site reports that sources at Rainbow PUSH say Smollett completed 8 hours of work on Sat. March 23 and 10 hours on Mon. March 25, the day before the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped all charges against the actor. His duties included stuffing envelopes, advising their music director on how to put a choir together and critiquing the group’s Saturday broadcast according to the site.
Update 3/26/19, 1:50pmEST:”I stand behind the detectives’ investigation,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a press conference after the state dismissed all charges against Jussie. “Do I think justice was served? No — I think this city is still owed an apology.” He was joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel criticized the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office decision. “This is a whitewash of justice,” Emanuel said during Tuesday afternoon’s joint press conference with the police. “A grand jury could not have been clearer.”
Update 3/26/19, 12:00pmEST: “I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one,” Jussie Smollett said when speaking for the first time after his charges were dropped. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of. I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me.”
Original: In what is being called a “stunning reversal” of fortune, Cook County prosecutors dropped the case against Jussie Smollett, 36, on March 26. Prosecutors dismissed all 16 felony disorderly conduct charges facing the Empire actor, who was accused of staging a hate crime against himself. “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case,” a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Fox said, “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. We standby the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case.”
“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,” his legal team said in a statement (h/t Chicago Tribune.) ”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.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” his legal team added. “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.”
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” his family said in a statement. “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. We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice. We thank god and our village for standing by us during this trying time.”
Jussie will have to surrender his $10,000 bond but that’s it. He’s free to go. Considering he was facing up to 3 years in prison and a possible fine of over $500k, this is a shocking — and unexpected — outcome. As to why happened, a source tells TMZ that the publication that the prosecution’s case “disintegrated.”
Full statement from Jussie Smollett's legal team is attached. pic.twitter.com/BkrqsJ7c7M
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 26, 2019
JUST IN: "This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated."
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 26, 2019
Jussie says that he was walking from a Subway sandwich shop to his apartment on East North Water Street around 2 AM on Jan. 29 when the alleged attack happened. He claims two men walked up, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck. He says they yelled “This is MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo were arrested in February 2019 as police investigated the alleged hate crime, but were later released. The authorities accused Jussie of paying the brothers $3,500 via a check to attack him. They also claim Jussie supplied the money to pay for the supplies to carry out the alleged hoax. The Chicago authorities charged Jussie with felony disorderly conduct, accusing him of orchestrating this attack because he was unhappy with his salary on the television show, Empire.
Fox, the channel which airs Empire, issued a statement after Jussie’s charges were dropped: “Many of you have reached out regarding today’s developments in the Jussie Smollett case. As of this time, the studio and network have no comment.”
HollywoodLife.com has reached out to Jussie’s lawyers for confirmation on this report. This story is ongoing and we will update the post with any new information when it is made available.
This post has been updated.