Charges Against Jussie Smollett Dropped
All charges against singer-actor Jussie Smollett were dropped on Tuesday.
The Empire star was arrested last month in Chicago and accused of staging an assault on himself. On March 8, he was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly hiring two men to attack him on a street near his home. Smollett pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, 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,” read a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Cook County Circuit Judge Steven G. Watkins ordered that the records in the case be sealed. Smollett will forfeit the $10,000 U.S. bond he posted.
The decision to drop the charges does not mean Smollett is not guilty. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told reporters: “The fact there was an alternative disposition in this case is not and should not be viewed as some kind of admission there was something wrong with the case, or something wrong with the investigation that the Chicago Police did."
Magats said the decision was made after looking at several factors. “It’s a nonviolent crime," he said. "He has no felony criminal background."
MORE: A Timeline Of The Case
Outside court, Smollett maintained his innocence. "I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," he told reporters, "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."
He added: "This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life."
Smollett’s lawyers, in a statement, also insisted the assault on the star was real. “Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29. 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. 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.”