In a stunning reversal, Chicago prosecutors have dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett just weeks after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report.
The “Empire” actor, 36, was seen arriving at a Chicago courtroom the morning of Tuesday (Mar. 26) for an unscheduled hearing. He won’t be prosecuted and he will forfeit the $10,000 bail he posted after his arrest.
Following his court appearance, his attorneys released a statement. “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,” said Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes. “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.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” the statement continued. “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.”
The statement 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.”
Jussie’s family also released a statement celebrating the news. “This morning truth has prevailed and [Jussie] has been vindicated,” they said. “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.”
In February, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct after Chicago officers said he orchestrated an alleged hate crime on himself because he was unhappy with his salary on “Empire.”
Smollett told police that he was attacked by two men near his Chicago apartment on Jan. 29. During the incident, the alleged assailants yelled racial and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.