Disgraced 'Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett Shares Rare Photos of Himself Smiling 2 Years after Hate Crime Controversy

Actor and singer Jussie Smollett shared several snaps on social media featuring his friends. He looked happier and more confident than he did when he was accused of a hate crime two years ago. 

Jussie Smollet, who was best known for his role in the "Empire" series, recently posted a series of pictures of himself with his friends celebrating his 39th birthday. 

He shared eight photos, one of which was in full color while the rest were black and white. In his first snap, Jussie, who sported eyeglasses, beamed brightly while hanging out with his friends. 

Jussie Smollett speaks onstage at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat the Odds Awards on December 6, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Jussie Smollett speaks onstage at the Children's Defense Fund California's 28th Annual Beat the Odds Awards on December 6, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Although Jussie's other photos were in black and white, his bright mode shone through as he celebrated his special occasion. He hugged a few people during the event. He wrote in the caption:

"Last night was a good one."

He also thanked his friends for organizing his unforgettable party. Towards the end of his message, the former child actor greeted "Happy Pride" to his fans. 

Thousands of fans were delighted to see the actor in high spirits. Other followers took to the comment section to extend their birthday greetings to Jussie. 

"Love to see you being loved," a fan commented. It had been a long time since fans saw Jussie this happy and free, as he went through a difficult experience in recent years. 

In 2019, police accused the TV star of allegedly staging a hate crime in Chicago. Despite Jussie's insistence, he was truly threatened; police found his case a "hoax."

The sensational crime sparked public debates and conversations across the country and online. Based on information collected by ABC News, Jussie initially received a threatening letter sent to Fox Studios.

The letter contained foul language and a powdery substance believed to be Tylenol. After reporting to the police, a serious incident happened to him.

He was attacked near his apartment at dawn by two strangers wearing masks. They allegedly threw chemical substances at him and tied a rope around his neck. 

The violent attack incited fear within Jussie's family. In their emotional statement, the family maintained that he was a victim of a racial and homophobic hate crime. 

The actor is biracial and an openly gay man. His family expressed hope that the police would arrest the persons involved in threatening and assaulting Jussie. 

Jussie managed to cooperate with the police investigation. However, he was disappointed when the authorities questioned his innocence and the facts he presented to them.

Police claimed that Jussie was reluctant about the investigation. The actor admitted he was hesitant because the police wanted to check his phone.

Although he worked with them peacefully, the police were unconvinced, especially when they arrested the suspects who were Nigerian and U.S. citizens. 

When police interrogated them, the suspects said they were Jussie's friends and alleged that he paid them to orchestrate the crime from the letter down to attack near his apartment.

Despite the suspects' accusations made against him, Jussie maintained his innocence. His sister, actress Jurnee Smollet also believed that he is innocent.

In 2020, he faced six new counts of felony related to his allegedly staged crime, but he pleaded not guilty. 

Police and the state attorney slapped the veteran actor with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false report after allegedly staging the attack.

Police believed he used racism to advance his career and promote his celebrity status. Meanwhile, several of his "Empire" co-stars wrote a letter of support for the embattled actor.

Most of the series cast also expressed that they missed Jussie's presence on set. Actor Terrence Howard described the actor as the "heart of the show."

In a surprising turn of events, all criminal charges filed against Jussie were dropped. The actor's legal counsel said the actor was relieved by the development, but it left a bad memory. 

According to Jussie's lawyers, the unfair and unwarranted actions by the authorities hurt many people. In 2020, he faced six new felony charges related to his allegedly staged crime, but he pleaded not guilty

Despite not returning for the sixth season of "Empire," Jussie has returned to work, focusing on his acting and singing career. He was also able to reunite with his family and friends.

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