The Jussie Smollett saga has continued for over eighteen months, and it’s not over yet. Somehow, it actually seemed to be over in March 2019, when the Cook County prosecutor dropped all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett, two months after he claimed to be the victim of a violent hate crime in Chicago. The reversal was unexpected, given that the Chicago PD held a press conference to publicly rip into Smollett, who they accused of wasting police resources, while the actor’s team maintained that the so-called smoking-gun of a $3,500 check (given to two Nigerian brothers who were Empire extras) actually disproved claims of a staged attack and only proved that the actor hired the brothers for personal training services. Smollett has maintained that he had always been truthful with police, but CBS News reported that Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was “furious” about the dropped charges.
Well, criminal charges were later restored against Smollett. The actor has since been indicted on charges of lying to law enforcement by a Chicago special prosecutor, to which he pleaded not guilty. TMZ also has the latest updates on a civil case by the City of Chicago against Smollett (they’re looking for evidence that Jussie faked a threatening letter that arrived at Fox studios), and the FBI is refusing to turn over records for that case, due to the ongoing criminal investigation. Yes, it’s a complete cluster of legal proceedings, and Jussie has remained publicly silent for over a year.
The actor decided to open up in a rare statement to Marc Lamont Hill. Smollett explained that his attorneys told him not to speak out, but he has to admit feeling frustrated over a lack of progress, and he feels like “there’s an example being made of someone that did not do what they’re being accused of,” and that Chicago law enforcement “won’t let this go.” The former Empire actor continued:
“It’s been beyond frustrating because to be somebody that’s so outspoken… it’s been difficult to be so quiet. To not be able to say all of the things that you want to say, to not be able to yell from the rooftop… It’s been beyond frustrating. I’m certainly not going rogue. I’m still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that. But I just don’t see honestly what staying quiet has really done. Where it has gotten me.”
This year, Smollett lost a double jeopardy bid, which (if he’d been successful) would have prevented him from being charged twice for the same alleged offense. You can watch his discussion with Hill below.