This is a developing story (refresh for updates)…
Jussie Smollett returned to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday morning for an “emergency court appearance” which has led to a stunning reversal in the charges against the Empire actor.
A judge also granted a motion to seal the case, according to CBS Chicago.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is reportedly upset about the criminal charges being dropped.
“Johnson is expected to speak Tuesday after a police graduation ceremony,” according to CBS Chicago. “Sources tell CBS 2 the news that 16 felony charges of disorderly conduct had been dropped against the “Empire” actor came as a surprise to the Chicago police head, who angrily told the public last month Smollett’s allegedly fabricated hate crime ‘Quite frankly pissed everybody off.'”
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct on March 6 for falsifying reports that he was the victim of a hate crime.
It’s unclear what led to the charges being dropped. As of now there is no new evidence that materially changes the facts presented in the case. Smollett forfeited a $10,000 bond payment, a move his attorney said happened frequently in cases.
Attorneys for Smollett just released a statement:
“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. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. 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 judgement.”
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” the statement continued. “This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result. 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.”
Smollett and his attorneys spoke to reporters after the hearing, offering little information about what led to the dismissal of charges.
Said Smollett to reporters: I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I’ve 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 has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly, one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I’m a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family our lives, or the movement into a fire like this. I just wouldn’t. 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 justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”
We’ll update here when we find out more.