Actor Jussie Smollett was summoned to an emergency court appearance this morning in Chicago to be told all criminal charges against him are being dropped by Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx.
Smollett had been charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false report. In total, he faced 16 felony charges.
In a statement released after his appearance, his attorneys – Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes – 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.
‘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 judgement.
‘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.’
Shortly after his attorneys issued a statement, Cook County prosecutors issued their own.
‘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 bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.’
January incident in Chicago
Smollett, 36, reported being attacked on in the early hours of 29 January in Chicago. The gay actor and singer said he’d gone out for food when two men attacked him. He said they threw an unidentified liquid at him and put a noose around his neck.
He took himself to hospital and notified police.
Police later arrested two men in connection with the attack. However, after questioning the men and carrying out investigations, they arrested Smollett.
Police alleged he had lied about the assault, suggesting he concocted the incident for publicity purposes.
News of the charges being dropped will inevitably raise questions about why charges were brought in the first place.
UPDATE: Smollett says ‘This has been an incredibly difficult time’
On leaving the court, Smollett gave his own statement to waiting reporters. He said: ‘I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have showed me so much love.
‘No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will be forever grateful.
‘I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one.’
He continued, ‘I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.
‘This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.
‘Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.
‘So again thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you. Thank you very much.’