Empire actor Jussie Smollett, centre, arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for his hearing on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

All charges dropped against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett

Actor was accused of lying about being the target of a racist, anti-gay attack

Prosecutors on Tuesday abruptly dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who was accused of lying to police about being the target of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago, his attorneys said.

Smollett’s attorneys said his record had “been wiped clean” of the 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was assaulted by two men. The actor insisted that he had “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”

READ MORE: Chicago police union wants federal probe in Smollett case

“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was being accused of,” he told reporters after a court hearing. He thanked the state of Illinois “for attempting to do what’s right.”

It was not immediately clear what prompted the decision to dismiss the case. Typically, a minimum condition of dropping cases is some acceptance of responsibility. In a statement, the Cook County prosecutors’ office offered no detailed explanation.

“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,” the statement from spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Smollett paid $10,000 in bail to get out of jail after his arrest.

Among the unanswered questions was whether prosecutors still believe Smollett concocted the attack and whether new evidence emerged that altered their view of events.

Smollett was accused of falsely reporting to authorities that he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago. Authorities said he made the report because he was unhappy with his pay on “Empire” and believed it would promote his career.

The actor, who is black and gay, plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

He reported that he was assaulted on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.

Police said Smollett hired two men, both of whom are black, to attack him. Smollett allegedly paid the men $3,500.

The men are brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and one of them had worked on “Empire.” An attorney for them has said the brothers agreed to help Smollett because of their friendship with him and the sense that he was helping their careers.

Amanda Seitz And Michael Tarm, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘Hands, washing hands’: Surrey teachers sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ with COVID-19 lesson

Staff at Fleetwood Park Secondary are featured in video posted to Youtube on Friday

Surrey’s JoJo Mason brings mom along for Saturday song during Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival

Online event March 28-29 to rally behind Canadian musicians hit by COVID-19 show cancellations

Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance, respect closures

Not social distancing or obeying provincial orders in Delta could set you back hundreds of dollars

From lockdown in Italy to self-isolation in South Surrey

Like many returning citizens, Peninsula-raised James Bogart & Emily Schenk have a long journey ahead

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Most Read