Jussie Smollett’s attorney, Patricia Brown Holmes, said that “there was no deal” to get the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to drop the charges against the “Empire” star.
“There was no deal. The state dismissed the charges,” Holmes said Tuesday morning during a press conference outside the Cook County courthouse. She added that Smollett “voluntarily” agreed to forfeit his bond. “I don’t have information that the state would have as to why they dropped these charges.”
Smollett spoke shortly after Holmes and started by thanking all of his supporters. “I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of,” he said. “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.”
Smollett concluded: “Now I’d 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.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon with Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
Smollett appeared in court on March 14 to plead not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct after being accused of lying to police regarding a Jan. 29 incident, in which he said he was randomly attacked by two men shouting racial and homophobic slurs in his Chicago neighborhood.
Smollett — who plays the openly gay Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hip-hop soap — was originally charged with one felony count for filing a false police report last month. Smollett and his attorneys continuously denied any wrongdoing throughout the criminal proceedings. His next court date had been set for April 17.
“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,” Smollett’s attorney Brown Holmes said in a statement to TheWrap Tuesday. “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.”
Smollett surrendered himself to Chicago police on Feb. 21, hours after he was formally charged. Producers for “Empire” decided shortly after to remove Smollett from the final two episodes of the show’s current season.
During a press conference last month, hours after Smollett’s Feb. 21 surrender, Johnson said that the actor staged an attack on himself because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” He also told reporters the police were in possession of a $3,500 check, which he said Smollett used to pay brothers Olabinjo (“Ola”) and Abimbola (“Abel”) Osundairo for the incident.
The Osundairos were released without charges Feb. 15, following an arrest and 48-hour hold, after the police said “new evidence” had emerged and that the investigation’s “trajectory” had changed course. Smollett was arrested a few days later.
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” the Smollett family said in a statement Tuesday. “Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of. He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack. This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated.”
Mark Geragos, another Smollett attorney, released a statement on Twitter as well:
Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dismissed by the Prosecution. Jussie’s record has been wiped clean. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify. He was a victim and was victimized again in a rush to judgment. Apologies accepted
— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) March 26, 2019