The ‘Empire’ actor was facing 16 felony counts for filing a false police report, after he claimed that he was attacked and beaten by two masked men shouting racist and homophobic slurs at him in January, but the case was closed on Tuesday (26.03.19) after he agreed to forfeit his bond, much to the unhappiness of local officials.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel branded the decision a “whitewash of justice”.
He fumed: “From top to bottom, this is not on the level. At the end of the day, it’s Mr. Smollett that committed this false claim.
“This is a whitewash of justice.”
And the local police department admitted they were “blindsided” by the decision to drop the charges, which was made “based on all the facts and circumstances” and “based on his lack of criminal background”, and because the 36-year-old actor would likely only receive community service as punishment, something he’s already completed.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats denied the mayor’s claims, but insisted Jussie had “not been exonerated” and dismissed the actor had not been a “victim”.
He told NBC Chicago: “This is not a whitewash of justice.
“This is a disposition in a felony case that is available on felony cases of this level. It’s available to all defendants. It’s not something out of privilege; it’s not something out of clout.”
And Magats doesn’t feel “justice was served” with the decision, which was also made in connection with Chicago’s focus being on violent crime.
He said: “He is not a victim of a hate crime…
“Do I think justice was served? No. I think this city is still owed an apology… At the end of the day, it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. Period.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx previously told Chicago police she was dropping the star’s case because Jussie would have only gotten community service if convicted, which he has already performed.
Foxx’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.”
The actor’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes also explained in a statement that their client’s record had “been wiped clean.”
They said: “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 entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion.”