'I Am a Man of Faith': Jussie Smollett Reveals His Thoughts after Charges against Him Are Dropped
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was charged with one count of lying to the authorities on February 20. The star had claimed that he was attacked by two men on January 29 in downtown Chicago.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that the Cook County State's Attorney had dropped all charges against him. In response, the actor spoke to the media revealing that he was “a man of faith.”
A few days after the police charged Jussie Smollett, a grand jury indicted him on 16 felony counts of lying to authorities. He faced eight counts for what he told the officer who responded to the report of the attack.
The additional eight was for what he later told a detective about being the victim of a brutal racist and homophobic beating by two masked men. However, on Tuesday all charges against him were dropped.
Shortly after the news broke, Smollett was seen on the courthouse steps where he thanked his supporters. He gave a lengthy statement with regards to the case.
The actor said:
"First of all I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, and supported me and showed me so much love. No one will ever know how much that 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 level since day one. I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’m 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.”
The “Empire” actor concluded:
"So 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 trying to do what’s right. Now I’d like nothing more than to just 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. So again, thank you for all the support, thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you all, thank you very much.”
His attorneys, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, reiterated that the actor was ready to get back to work and move on with his life. Brown Holmes adamantly said: "We have nothing to say to the police department except to investigate their charges and not try their case in the press."
She also urged them "Not to jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law." The Chicago Police Department was not pleased with the prosecution's decision.
Commander Ed Wodnicki called it a "slap in our face." He added, "It’s a punch in the gut. Is absolutely a punch in the gut. We worked closely throughout our three-week investigation to get to the point where we arrested the offender.”
Wodnicki said it was “shocking” that state's attorney had dismissed the charges “without discussing this with us at all.” The commander revealed that the police had been "prepared for trial" and had built a "rock solid case."
He insisted that they had "overwhelming evidence.” During a press conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was visibly angry, called the decision a "whitewash of justice."
"Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else."
However, the Cook County State's Attorney's office said dropping all criminal charges against Smollett was a "just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case." They revealed that the decision was taken after they had reviewed “all of the facts and circumstances of the case.”
Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago also played a big role in their ruling. At the beginning of the year, the actor reported that he’d been allegedly beaten by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him.
He claimed a noose was placed around his neck and bleach was poured on him while the men shouted, "This is MAGA country." When the Chicago police investigated the possible hate crime, they shared that new information had "shifted" their approach to the case.
They accused Smollett of planning the assault by hiring two brothers, Obabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo who worked on "Empire." Chicago police alleged that the motive for Smollett’s fake attack was because he was "dissatisfied with his salary."
A week before the alleged attack, Smollett had told authorities that he received a threatening letter at work. The police accused him of faking the letter as well.
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