Chicago prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett during a surprise court hearing.
The 36-year-old — who was accused of staging a street attack on himself in a bid to secure a pay raise — reached a deferred prosecution deal that will wipe out the charges, though he will forfeit the $10,000 he posted for bond.
“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,” his attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement.
“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,” the said.
“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 Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in statement: “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.”
In a blistering statement, Smollett’s family reiterated his innocence and slammed his skeptics.
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” the family said. “Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of. He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack. This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated. All charges have been dismissed and his record expunged (cleared).
“The painful incidents we’ve witnessed him endure over the past 7 weeks have been heartbreaking and unjust to say the least. While many were quick to rush to judgement before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light. We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice. We thank God and our village for standing by us during this trying time.”
On March 14, he pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct accusing him of lying to police when he told them two men unleashed a racist and homophobic attack on him in Chicago.
Prosecutors alleged that Smollett — who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show — hired two pals to help stage the attack on him early on the morning of Jan. 29.
He initially was charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct after claiming he was attacked by masked supporters of President Trump who beat him, wrapped a noose around his neck and poured a liquid chemical on him while hurling racist and homophobic slurs.
Police said Smollett was “dissatisfied with his salary” and wanted to whip up publicity to help his career.
After the alleged attack, Smollett received an outpouring of support on social media, including from celebrities and Democratic presidential candidates.
The disgraced performer ultimately was suspended from the show and has been written out of the final two episodes of its ongoing fifth season.
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