The charges that were filed against Jussie Smollett after his arrest in February were dropped yesterday by the Illinois state attorney’s office. Smollett, who is known for his role as Jamal Lyon on the hit show Empire, was indicted on 16 felony charges for allegedly staging a hate crime against himself.
In the statement released by Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, they stated:
“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,”
The attack on Smollett is thought to have occurred in late January in a Chicago outside of a Subway. He claims that he was attacked by two Trump supporters wearing masks, who targeted him for being a black and openly gay man. The attackers reportedly yelled “this is a MAGA country,” before beating Smollett, tying a rope around his neck and leaving him with a fractured rib.
Smollett was subsequently arrested in February, after the Chicago Police Department began to suspect foul play. The police claimed that Smollett falsified a police report, and staged the crime in order to further his career and secure a larger paycheck for his role on Empire.
On Tuesday morning the Cook County courthouse held an emergency hearing for the actor’s case, in which the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office decided to drop all the charges against Smollett and clear his record. A statement from the office read:
“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.”
According to Variety, shortly after the charges were dropped, Smollett released his own statement:
“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.”