Jussie Smollett says he was ‘truthful and consistent' after charges dropped
Jussie Smollett has said he has been “truthful and consistent” after all charges against him were dropped.
Lawyers for the Empire actor said prosecutors have cleared him of 16 charges of disorderly conduct alleging he lied to police about being attacked.
Smollett had been accused of hiring two men to stage a racist and homophobic attack on him in central Chicago on January 29.
Speaking at a press conference outside court, he said: “I want to thank my family, my friends and the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me, who have shown me so much love.
“No-one will 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 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 and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this, I just wouldn’t.”
After thanking his legal counsel and the state of Illinois “for attempting to do what’s right”, he added: “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 marginalised people everywhere.”
Smollett’s lawyers Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that his record “has been wiped clean”.
A statement from 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment, which makes Empire, said: “Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
However, the mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel called the dropping of charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett “a whitewash of justice”.
Chicago’s police superintendent Eddie Johnson also contested the decision, claiming Smollett “committed this hoax, period”.
He added: “If he wanted to clear his name, the way to do that is in a court of law so everyone can see the evidence.
“I stand by the facts of what we produced. If they want to dispute those facts then the place to do that is in court, not in secrecy.”
Smollett’s family later said they felt grateful after the charges were dropped.
His family said in a statement that Smollett’s character was “unjustly smeared” and the “truth prevailed”.
Smollett’s family said the scrutiny he faced over the past several weeks was “heartbreaking” as many were “quick to judgment before hearing the actual truth”.