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Jussie Smollett Case – Chicago Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Empire Actor Jussie Smollett
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Like a surprise twist in a TV soap opera, the Jussie Smollett case took another wild turn Tuesday when Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against the actor, who had allegedly staged a phony hate crime in Chicago on January 29, 2019.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Smollett’s attorneys were the first to reveal the shocking about-face in the actor’s case, issuing a statement after the judge allowed the dismissal that also wipes Smollett’s record clean.
While the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Smollett’s attorney denied making any sort of deal with Cook County prosecutors, the paper also said the dropped charges were “not a statement that Smollett did not, as police and prosecutors said when the actor was charged, pay his assailants to fake the attack, and then falsely report the incident to police and detectives.” In an interview with the Sun-Times, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats said, “We stand behind the CPD investigation done in this case, we stand behind the approval of charges in this case.” But a Chicago Police Department source also told the paper that Supt. Eddie Johnson was not briefed on the decision to drop charges against Smollett and is allegedly “furious” about the announcement.
The statement from Smollett’s legal team is as follows:
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. 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. 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.
The alleged attack occurred early in the morning of January 29. The actor claimed he was walking home from a Subway restaurant at around 2 a.m. when two unidentified men attacked him, yelled racial slurs, wrapped a noose around his neck, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.” While Chicago police initially investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, their focus eventually turned on Smollett himself when the two suspects claimed Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett vehemently denied having any hand in the alleged incident, both in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America and in later statements issued by his attorneys.
This story will be updated with ongoing developments.