26 Mar 19
Jussie Smollett has been in a spot of bother (Picture: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
All charges against the actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped, and his record expunged, after an emergency hearing.
Smollett’s family have released a statement, reading: ‘Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared. Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of.
So what exactly were the charges brought against Empire’s Jussie Smollett, and why have they been dropped?
The charges against Jussie Smollett
In February of this year, Smollett, 36, was arrested by Chicago police for allegedly filing a false police report, and for disorderly conduct.
On January 29, reports were made which said that Smollett had been ‘brutally attacked’ by two men in an alleged hate crime, in which, as sources told TMZ, the two men in question asked Smollett ‘Aren’t you that f****t Empire n*****?’ before beating him, ‘putting a rope around his neck and pouring bleach on him’.
The two reportedly yelled: ‘This is MAGA country,’ when they walked away
TMZ also states that Smollett was subsequently taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment, and where he was found to have fractured a rib.
Jussie as his character Jamal Lyon on Empire (Picture: Fox)
After news of the alleged attack broke, fans filled Smollett’s Instagram with supportive comments, with one commenting: ‘Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending you sooo much love!!!’
‘Get well soon sir! So sorry to hear what happened to you. Be blessed and stay safe,’ said another.
However Smollett was arrested and charged with filing a false police report in late February, and by early March, his ‘attackers’ alleged that Smollett paid them $3,500 (roughly £2,600) as a ‘favour to stage the attack‘, and he was staring down the barrel of another 15 felony counts of filing a false police report from a grand jury – bringing the total number of charges up to 16.
The 15 additional charges were divided between two areas, with the first regarding his initial report to Chicago Police Department, and the other charges regarding Jussie’s second interview with police.
(Picture: Chicago Police/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock)
While each of the 16 charges – to which Smollett pleaded not guilty – did not come with the potential of additional time in prison, each charge did carry a maximum probation sentence of four years.
That means that Smollett potentially faced a maximum of three years in prison, a $25,000 fine and 60 years probation.
Chicago Police claimed that Smollett ‘orchestrated’ the attack in Chicago because he was unhappy with his Empire salary.
Smollett at a red carpet event last year (Picture: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Now however, after an emergency hearing this morning in Chicago, the charges against Smollett were dropped. The actor will forfeit his $10,000 (£7,500) bond, and his record has been wiped clean.
State attorney Kim Fox’s office said: ‘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.’
Smollett’s legal team released a statement which read: ‘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 judgment.
‘Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. 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.’
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