Published: Wed, March 27, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Charges dropped against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, say his lawyers

Charges dropped against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, say his lawyers

In a statement, Anne Kavanagh, a spokeswoman for Smollett's lawyers, said: "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 reported that he had been attacked on his way home from a sandwich shop. He went on to tell reporters, "I have been truthful and consistent from day one".

Earlier on Tuesday, the state's attorney dropped the 16 charges against Smollett, which included disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.

"It pissed everybody off", Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

"I believe there may have been a back deal made to walk away free, or the prosecutor didn't have enough evidence to prosecute Smollett", said Taylor.

The office did not address whether or not they still believe that Smollett staged the attack, but sent a follow-up statement of support for the investigation.

After an investigation, Chicago police said Smollett recruited the two men to stage the attack because he was upset with his pay on the Fox show.

- Chicago police say they've reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance camera footage, including of Smollett walking downtown, but none shows the attack.

Smollett was reportedly itching for a bigger payday from Empire producers and also wanted insurance against getting dumped from the smash hit.

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But as part of the court hearing Tuesday, Smollett agreed to forfeit the $10,000 he posted to stay out of jail.

Smollett claimed he was attacked by two men who placed a rope around his neck and had an unknown chemical substance poured on him January 29.

A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department referred all questions to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, which cited Smollett's community service in explaining its decision to drop the charges.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "This is a whitewash of justice".

The onetime Empire stalwart claimed he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on the streets of Chicago in January but his story quickly unravelled.

A statement from Smollett's family says "This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated".

The decision is unusual, because U.S. prosecutors often drop charges only after defendants have conceded some level of responsibility for the crimes they were accused of committing.

Two potential "attackers" were soon identified, but rather than pro-Trump whites they were a pair of Nigerian brothers with ties to Empire.

"I'm happy that the truth has finally been set free, because I knew it all along", she said. Is it possible that the decision not to pursue the charges is actually a cost-saving measure? He took charge of it after State's Attorney Kim Foxx stepped aside because of a conflict of interest. "Mr. Smollett being in a position of power over them - him being this celebrity person who could pull strings for them and help them in their career", Schmidt said.

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