The case of Jussie Smollett took another bizarre turn on Tuesday when the Cook County prosecutor in Chicago cleared the Empire actor of all charges. Earlier this month, Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to authorities and filing a false police report that claimed he had been the victim of a hate crime. Smollett’s arrest occurred after it was believed that he had paid two men to orchestrate the attack.
This latest development delivers more question than answers. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is apparently “furious” with the decision.
Shortly after the news broke, Smollett spoke at a press conference in which he thanked his friends, family, legal counsel and others for support, remaining steadfast in his assertions that he was 100 percent innocent of what he had been accused of. You can read his full statement below.
“First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have supported me, prayed for me, who 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 single level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I have 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.
So I want to thank my legal counsel from the bottom of my heart, and I would also like to thank the state of Illinois for attempting to do what’s right. Now I would like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
The state attorney’s office claimed to have factored in Smollett’s community volunteering as well his as agreeing to forfeit his bond, saying “We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” in the official statement.