Felony Charges in Chicago Against Jussie Smollett — Dropped
Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett just weeks after he was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report.
Smollett, 36, was seen arriving at a Chicago courtroom around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday for an emergency hearing. Following his court appearance, his attorneys released a statement saying that the actor’s “record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him.”
“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,” the statement read.
During a brief news conference, Smollett said he has been “truthful” from the beginning.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly, one of the worst of my life,” he said, adding that he’s ready to get back to his career and life.
Smollett was charged earlier this month by a grand jury of 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for making a false report, according to a criminal complaint.
In February, he was charged with felony disorderly conduct after Chicago officers said he orchestrated the alleged hate crime in January on himself because he was unhappy with his salary on the show “Empire.”
Smollett’s lawyer, Patricia Holmes, slammed the Chicago Police Department for their public handling of the case and said they should “not jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in the court of law.”
Chicago Police Department commander Ed Wodnicki told NBC Chicago that the reversal of charges was a “punch in the gut” and prosecution did not discuss their decision with the police department prior to Tuesday’s announcement.
“We worked closely throughout our three-week investigation to get to point where we arrested the offender,” he said. “For the state’s attorney at this point to dismiss charges without discussing this with us at all is just shocking.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson slammed the decision to drop the charges.