The Charges Against Jussie Smollett Have Been Dropped in Connection to His Alleged Attack

In an unexpected turn of events, Chicago prosecutors have dropped all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett had been indicted on 16 charges in connection with the alleged hate crime attack he claims to have been the victim of in Chicago on January 29. Following a Chicago police department investigation, it was believed the actor had allegedly orchestrated and staged the attack. Now, just weeks before Smollett was due in court he is now free from investigation and is no longer a suspect.

Included in NBC News’ report on the charges against Smollett being dropped was a statement from his lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes. The statement reads: “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. 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… 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.”

Per Variety, the Cook County Attorney’s Office said their agreement with Smollett’s team is an “appropriate resolution to this case,” going on to point to the actor’s previous charitable work in the Chicago community as one of the factors for dismissing his charges. Additionally, Variety notes Smollett has forfeited his $10,000 bond payment to the city of Chicago.

Following these reports, TMZ was one of the many outlets that provided a livestream of the short press briefing held outside of the Chicago courthouse where Smollett and his lawyers appeared as today’s charges were dropped. Addressing the press, one of Smollett’s lawyers confirmed that no plea deal was struck and Smollett would be completely free from any further investigation and he was no longer a suspect in this case.

Smollett also addressed the press, giving his own statement about the dropped charges and how this ordeal has affected him:

“I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago, and everyone all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have shown me so much love,” Smollett began, continuing, “No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will forever be grateful.”

He went on to reaffirm his innocence, speaking to his character, saying, “I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of. This has been an incredibly difficult time; honestly, one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I’m a man that has knowledge of my history. I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”

Smollett ended his statement with thanks : “So I want to thank my legal counsel, from the bottom of my heart, and I would also like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what’s right. Now, I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes [sic]: I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people. So again, thank you for all the support, thank you for faith and thank you to God.”

As of this writing, it’s unclear what the next steps for Smollett are. Neither Fox nor the Empire team has released a statement on the dropped charges or addressed whether he will appear on future episodes of of the hit series.

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