Charges have been dropped against actor Jussie Smollett, according to The Hollywood Reporter. On Tuesday morning Smollett was back in court for what his team called an emergency appearance.
“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,” Smollett’s lawyer said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “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 judgment,” his lawyer continued.
The Empire actor was initially charged with disorderly conduct via the class 4 felony false report allegation and later indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to authorities about the hate crime. His role on Empire, was cut from the final episodes of the latest season “to avoid further disruption on set,” the show’s executive producers said in a joint statement.
Smollett told police that he was beaten up on Jan. 29 by two men wearing masks while he was getting food in a Chicago neighborhood. Smollett, who is black and gay, said the attackers made racist and homophobic remarks towards him before punching him, and putting a noose around his neck. He also claimed they poured bleach on him.
Ola and Abel Osundairo, who are brothers were arrested while police were investigating the crime, but were later let go and no longer considered suspects. Shortly after, Smollett was labeled as a suspect in his crime and arrested. Prosecutors believed Smollett paid the brother $3,500 through a check and also gave them the money needed to carry out the crime. Smollett and his team maintained his innocence throughout.
“This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records,” Mark Geragos, who represent Smollett said in a statement to NBC News.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel condemned the state’s attorney’s decision to drop the charges saying it was a whitewash of justice. “My personal opinion is that you all know where I stand in this. Do I think justice was served? No. I think this city is still owed an apology,” Rahm stated.