Empire actor Jussie Smollett all 16 felony charges against him are DROPPED

  • Smollett's lawyers announced on Tuesday that all charges had been dropped
  • He was facing 48 years behind bars on 16 felony charges for allegedly lying
  • Prosecutors and police were extremely confident in their case and laid out their evidence publicly before Smollett entered a plea
  • The Cook County's State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself over the case over contact she had with his family in the days after the incident  
  • Smollett, who has always maintained his innocence, said in a statement via lawyers that he was relieved 
  • 20th Century Fox said it was 'gratified' that he had been vindicated  

Chicago's mayor and chief police officer tore through Jussie Smollett and slammed prosecutors' decision to drop all charges against him as a 'whitewash of justice' on Tuesday after the Empire actor jubilantly celebrated escaping a possible 48 year prison sentence.

Speaking at a press conference with the equally enraged Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson on Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel insisted repeatedly that Smollett was guilty of staging a hoax attack on January 29 and that he did it for a raise. 

He slammed Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats decision to drop the 16 felony charges Smollett was hit with by a grand jury, a move he said he took because Smollett is not a 'violent threat' to the community. 

Magats' decision comes amid calls for his boss, Kim Foxx, to face investigation an from the Attorney General for exchanging text messages with Smollett's relatives in the early stages of the investigation. 

She tried to wrestle it out of the hands of the Chicago PD and have the FBI take it over at the request of Smollett family friend Tina Tchen, who is Michelle Obama's former chief of staff.  

Foxx recused herself from the case because of it and Magats took over but the police union in Chicago says it should have gone to a special prosecutor. 

On Tuesday, Mayor Emanuel said the sudden decision to drop the charges proved there is 'one set of rules for the powerful and influential'.   

He and Johnson were blindsided by the announcement which they learned of while attending a police academy graduation ceremony. 

'Without a doubt this is a whitewash of justice and sends a clear message that if you are in a position of influence and power, you'll be treated one way. 

'It is wrong,' Mayor Emanuel said. 

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Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson (left) on Tuesday at a press conference to condemn the outcome of the Jussie Smollett case+16

Rahm Emanuel joined Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson (left) on Tuesday at a press conference to condemn the outcome of the Jussie Smollett case

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Jussie Smollett said on Tuesday that he had never lied to police as he thanked fans for their support after having the charges dropped against him 

Rahm Emanuel decries dropping of charges against Jussie Smollett

State's Attorney Kim Foxx has come under fire for her handling of the Smollett case+16

Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, worked on behalf of the Smollett family to have the case turned over to the FBI+16

Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, worked on behalf of the Smollett family to have the case turned over to the FBI

Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats said he had decided to drop the charges because Smollett was not a violent threat to the community+16

Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats said he had decided to drop the charges because Smollett was not a violent threat to the community 

He went on to condemn Smollett for speaking out after the court hearing and protesting his innocence. 

'Mr. Smollett is still saying that he is innocent, still running down the Chicago Police Department... how dare him. How dare him after everybody saw. Is there no decency in this man?' 

Johnson, who publicly condemned Smollett last month and said his lies were 'despicable', also slammed the star for asking that the evidence be sealed. 

'I would want my day in court to clear my name. They wanted their day in court with TV cameras,' he said, referring to Smollett's team's eagerness to allow cameras in the courtroom.

'[Now] they chose to hide behind secrecy. You all know what the bond proffer said. 

'We all know what it said if they want to dispute those facts the place to do that is in court not in secrecy,' he said.

Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts that were returned by a grand jury which Emanuel said it proved that it was not just the police department which thought he was guilty.  

'This is not the superintendent's word against his. 

'The grand jury saw a sliver of the evidence and they came to a conclusion,' he said, adding that the judge's decision to grant Smollett's attorneys' request to have all the evidence sealed meant that the truth would never come out. 

'This is a person now who has been left off scot-free with no sense of accountability of the moral and ethical wrong of his actions, from top to bottom,' Emanuel said.  

Magats said it had decided not to pursue the charges because his office prioritized 'violent crime' and that Smollett's alleged wrongdoing did not fall into that category. 

The pair said there was enough evidence to convict Smollett but that it would never see the light of day because of the judge's decision to seal the case.  

'We did not exonerate him. We work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime. 

'Public safety is our number one priority. I don't see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety,'  Joe Magats, Assistant State's Attorney, toldThe New York Times. 

Questions have arisen surrounding Smollett's families interactions with State's Attorney Kim Foxx, Magats' boss who recused herself from the case after it emerged she had been exchanging text messages with a member of the actor's family about it.  

Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, worked on behalf of the Smollett family to have the case turned over to the FBI

Smollett had been facing up to 48 years behind bars on 16 felony counts of lying to police by claiming he was attacked on January 29 by two men he said he could not identify and who he said called him racial and homophobic slurs. 

On Tuesday, an emergency hearing was scheduled during which the charges were suddenly dropped. Smollett agreed to surrender his $10,000 bond but walked out of court a free man. 

There is no doubt that brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo attacked but so far, no other motive other than that Smollett asked them to and paid them to do it has emerged. 

The question of why prosecutors who had boasted about their evidence against him suddenly dropped the case remains. 

In his statement on Tuesday, Smollett gave no other explanation for the attack - which his personal trainers carried out on him - but said he had been truthful all along in his claims that he did not recognize them when they jumped him.  

'I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and world who have prayed for me, supported me and shown me love. 

'No one will ever know how much that has meant to me. Not for a moment was it in vain,' he said. 

Smollett read from a small piece of paper which had handwritten notes on it+16

Smollett read from a small piece of paper which had handwritten notes on it 

Smollett walks past a bank of photographers, adjusting his sunglasses, before leaving the court with his laeyers+16

Smollett walks past a bank of photographers, adjusting his sunglasses, before leaving the court with his laeyers 

After making his statement, Smollett took selfies with fans outside the courthouse then got into a waiting car.  

He refused to say whether he planned to fight against Chicago Police Department or the prosecutor's office for accusing him of staging the January 29 attack, but said he would continue to 'fight for justice' and for the 'marginalized' people of the world. 

JUSSIE'S STATEMENT 

'Hey everybody, 

'I just made a couple of notes. First of all I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have shown me so much love. No one will ever know how much that has meant to me. 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 even 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. 

'I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn't. 

'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. I would like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life but make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. 

'So again, thank you for all the support. Thank you to faith and thank you to God. 

'Bless y'all. Thank you very much.'  

It remains unclear what prompted the decision but the Cook County's State's Attorney's office said it was due in part to Smollett's 'volunteer service in the community.'  

On Tuesday morning, a spokesman told DailyMail.com it was confident in the police investigation into him and still satisfied with its decision to bring charges but would not say why then he was not being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

'After reviewing all of the facts and circumstanced 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,' they said.  

Police have called for an Attorney General probe into how State's Attorney Kim Foxx was exchanging text messages with a member of the Smollett family in the days after the attack, trying to get the investigation taken over by the FBI at their request.  

Smollett said in his statement that he would 'not be his mother's son' if he was capable of 'even a drop' of what he had been accused of. 

His lawyers refused to answer reporters' questions about whether Smollett would sue the city and admitted that Smollett had agreed to forfeit his bond in order to 'move on'. 

She said that brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo were the ones who attacked Smollett but gave no explanation as to why they did it. 

There was confusion over whether or not the decision was part of a deal. 

Smollett's attorneys insisted that it was not but admitted he had agreed to pay the $10,000 bond forfeiture in order to move in with his life.    

Smollett took selfies with fans outside the court before getting in to a waiting car+16

Smollett took selfies with fans outside the court before getting in to a waiting car

They have already called for the Attorney General to investigate Foxx for her handling of the case because she tried to have it turned over to the FBI at the request of Smollett's family in the days after the attack. 

She was contacted by Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, on February 1, on behalf of the Smollett family. 

Tchen wanted her to convince Chicago PD to hand the investigation over to the FBI and Foxx agreed to try to. 

She then exchanged text messages with an unnamed relative of Smollett's about it who said: 'OMG this would be a huge victory.' 

On Tuesday, Smollett's family welcomed the news and said they were 'looking forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice.' 

'Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been (sic) unjustly smeared. 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 the truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated.

'All charges have been dismissed and his record expunged. The painful incidents we've witnessed him endure over the past 7 weeks have been heartbreaking and unjust to say the least. 

'While many were quick to rush to judgement before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light.

'We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice. We thank God and our village for standing by us during this trying time,' their statement said. 

The case never went to the FBI and Chicago PD came down heavily on Smollett once he was arrested.  

Abel and Ola Osundairo's lawyers said on Wednesday night that they 'manned up' by telling police that Smollett paid them +16

Ola appeared on the second season of Empire as an extra. He is shown with Lee Daniels, the show's creator, on set in 2015+16

Abel and Ola Osundairo's lawyers said on Wednesday night that they 'manned up' by telling police that Smollett paid them 

Smollett was initially indicted by prosecutors with just one charge but a grand jury added another 15 on to it for every time he allegedly lied.  

The actor was accused of paying brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo to attack him on January 29 outside his apartment at around 2am as he walked home from a Subway. 

He claimed that he did not recognize the attackers but said they called him a 'f****t', n****r' and shouted: 'This is MAGA country!' 

For weeks, police insisted Smollett was still the victim but gradually, suspicion grew as details of the probe were leaked including the fact that he had not agreed to hand over his phone for police to search. 

Eventually, on February 21, Smollett was arrested. 

In a blistering press conference, he was eviscerated by Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson who accused him of lying about the attack to leverage it to get a raise on Empire.

They even claimed he gave himself facial injuries to try to make the attack more believable. 

Smollett denied it angrily and posted bail but prosecutors were confident. 

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This is the state's case against Smollett, as laid out in their bond proffer that was submitted in court in February. It was an unusual step which signaled prosecutors' confidence in their evidence+16

This is the state's case against Smollett, as laid out in their bond proffer that was submitted in court in February. It was an unusual step which signaled prosecutors' confidence in their evidence 

They took the unusual step of publishing his full bond proffer which detailed all the evidence they said they had against him, including phone calls between him and the brothers before and after the attack. 

They also used a check he'd given them, purportedly for personal training, as apparent proof that he paid them for the attack. 

Smollett was excluded from the final two episodes of Empire as a result of the scandal. 

A spokesman for the network said it had no comment on the development on Tuesday.  

The brothers are who told police that he paid them to stage the attack, but police insisted vociferously to have other evidence that backed up their claim.

Johnson even went on Good Morning America himself to say the state had more evidence against Smollett that had not been presented in an appearance after Smollett's arrest. 

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Smollett's lawyers revealed the news that the charges had been dropped. 

'Today, all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of the complaint against him.

'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.

'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 as a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect.

'Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.

'Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.' 

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