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Jussie Smollett outside Chicago courthouse (USA Today)

By: Nate Morris, senior editor

CHICAGO, IL – Lawyers for Empire Star Jussie Smollett hit back hard against the Chicago Police Department and District Attorney’s office on Tuesday morning after all sixteen charges against the actor for allegedly faking a hate crime were suddenly dropped.

According to the Chicago Tribune, attorneys for Smollett said in a statement:

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.

Smollett, who was allegedly attacked while walking down a Chicago street by two white men that beat him, called him racial and homophobic slurs, referenced Trump, tied a rope around his neck and poured a chemical substance on his head, became the center of an investigation after prosecutors alleged he faked the entire incident.

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Throughout the duration of the ordeal, Smollett maintained his innocence and held to his story of the event, even as he was publicly vilified by the general public, Hollywood, politicians and even the President of the United States.

According to ABC reporter T.J. Holmes, Smollett’s charges were dropped because he already performs community service in the city and forfeited his $10,000 in bail to the court system.  He did not plead guilty.

It was not immediately clear what lead to the rapid dissolution of this case, especially given the visceral anger the Chicago Police Superintendent aimed at Smollett in a press conference last month, who said that the actor “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to advance his own career”.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was reportedly ‘fuming” after the charges were reported dropped.

Smollett’s siblings, who publicly stood by his side, said in a statement “our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared.”

A spokesperson for Smollett confirmed that his record would be expunged.  The judge also agreed that the contents of the case would be sealed.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time, one of the worst of my entire life,” a visibly emotional and exhausted Smollett said after appearing from the courthouse, “make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for justice.”


Nate Morris is a contributor to the Black Wall Street Times.  Nate was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and moved to Tulsa in 2012 after graduating from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.  He received his Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2015.  Nate is a Teach for America alumnus and has worked in schools throughout the Tulsa area.

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