The incidents surrounding the alleged attack against Jussie Smollett earlier this year—and the subsequent charges claiming that the Empire actor staged the event— has taken a significant turn. Earlier today, Chicago prosecutors announced that Smollett has been cleared of all 16 felony charges over allegedly filing a false police report.
The announcement is in response to a January 29th incident where Smollett was verbally and physically assaulted by two men in Chicago, only to be later faced with allegations over claims that he staged the incident as publicity stunt. These allegations lead to Smollett being charged with (among other felonies), disorderly conduct over the filing of a false police report.
A statement this morning, following an emergency court appearance by Smollett, announced that the actor had been cleared of all charges:
“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.”
A statement by Mark Geragos, the lawyer representing Smollett as he faced these charges following his assault, condemned Chicago Police Department (who initially claimed that the actor “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”) over their mishandling of the situation: “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.”