The nation was in shock Tuesday after former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett had all 16 felony charges against him dropped.
The openly gay black actor was accused of faking a hate crime attack against himself involving two men who allegedly yelled “This is MAGA country!” as they screamed racist and anti-gay slurs at him. Smollett has maintained that he’s a victim.
On Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office released a statement saying, “After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his [$10,000] bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution in this case.”
Smollett’s record will now be fully expunged, and a judge has granted a motion to seal the case.
The Chicago Police are furious and still believe Smollett faked the attack and wasted hundreds of their man hours investigating it. They were convinced that the mountain of evidence they had uncovered, along with the full confessions of the two Nigerian brothers who said the actor paid them to attack him, was enough to convict Smollett of filing a false police report.
But now the State’s Attorney’s Office has given an explanation about why they unexpectedly dropped the charges, according to reporter Julie Bosman of the New York Times.
“We didn’t exonerate him,” Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats explained.
According to Bosman, Magats “saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett. The charges against Smollett were dropped in return for his agreement to do community service, he said, and for forfeiting his bond to the city of Chicago.”
Magats said: "Here's the thing — we work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime. Public safety is our number one priority. I don't see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety."
"We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case,” he concluded. “The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence."
Everything the prosecutor’s office said seemed to point to them not seeing Smollett as innocent of the charges. Yet the charges were dropped.