In a stunning turn of events, all charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett have been dropped. The star was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report about a hate crime attack against himself.
"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 a statement from the office of the Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.
Foxx’s spokesperson Tandra Simonton also says that the $10,000 in bond money that he is forfeiting will be given to the city.
SMOLLETT & LEGAL TEAM REACT
Smollett’s legal team issued a statement in the case. "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," according to a statement from Smollett's lawyers Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes. "... 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 judgment.
"Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions," the lawyers added, noting the case is a reminder of why "there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion."
"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."
At a press conference, Smollett’s attorney Brown Holmes says: "I have no idea what occurred in this case and why it occurred. I can just say that things seemed to spiral somewhat out of control. We’ve gotten to a result that is the right result in this case, and we’re happy for that."
The records in the case have been sealed. Smollett appeared at the press conference too, taking selfies with fans and talking to them.
He also thanked supporters, saying: "I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country, in the world, who have prayed for me and supported me and who have shown me so much love."
"No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will forever be 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 was accused of. This is been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life. I am a man of faith and have knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this.
MAYOR, POLICE OBJECT
Illinois prosecutors and police are not happy with the decision.
"We stand by the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our approval of charges," reads the statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel called it "an unbelievable whitewash of justice. It’s immoral, unethical, wrong."AUDIO: JUSSIE SMOLLETT'S ATTORNEY AT PRESS CONFERENCE