Chicago prosecutors on just dropped criminal charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a phony hate crime against himself.
Smollett, who was facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct, appeared at an emergency court hearing Tuesday morning, where the case was dismissed in exchange for the actor agreeing to forfeit his $10,000 release bond.
Smollett had pleaded not guilty March 14, and before Tuesday’s surprise hearing was next scheduled to be in court on April 17.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said a press conference,
“This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice… [he] did this all in the name of self-promotion.
How dare you! Citizens should be angry. I support the hard work of our police.
This sends an unambiguous message that there is no accountability and that is wrong.“
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said of the dismissal at the press conference.
“Do I think justice was served? No. … They chose to hide behind secrecy in brokering a deal.”
But Smollett, after the the case was dropped, said,
“I’ve been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of even one drop of what I have been accused of.
I want to thank my legal counsel from the bottom of my heart, and I would like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what is right. Thank you for all the support, thank you for faith and thank you to God.”
Chicago Police Department Commander Edward Wodnicki, whose department had conducted the investigation into Smollett, told WMAQ-TV he was outraged by the dismissal.
“It’s a punch in the gut. Is absolutely a punch in the gut. We worked closely throughout our 3 week investigation to get to point where we arrested the offender. For states attorney at this point to dismiss charges without discussing this with us at all is just shocking.
They weren’t courteous to give us a heads up … This is a slap in our face.
We wasted time and effort on a reported serious crime to get to the point it’s a lie?”
Smollett’s legal team, in a statement, reiterated its claim that Smollett was the victim of an actual attack.
“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.”
Patricia Brown Holmes, Smollett’s attorney, said
“We have gotten to a result which is the right result in this case, and we are happy with that. He is a good, solid citizen of the city of Chicago.”