Cook County prosecutors dropped all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollet who claimed he was attacked by 2 men in a racist, anti-homosexual hate crime outside his Chicago condo on Jan. 29.
Smollett is expected to make a statement when he emerges from a Cook County courthouse where all charges were dropped against him in an emergency court hearing on Tuesday.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped all 16 felony misconduct charges against Smollett for staging a fake hate crime attack against himself to boost his salary as an actor on Fox TV’s soap opera Empire.
She previously recused herself from the case, a day before Smollett was arrested in February for lying to the police.
According to his attorney, Smollet’s criminal record – at least in Chicago – will be “wiped clean.”
Smollett, 36 agreed to forfeit $10,000 – 10 percent of his $100,000 million bond.
“We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” a prosecutor said in a stunning reversal.
In a statement, Smollett’s lawyer referred to him as “a victim” who “deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of the charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
Two Chicago brothers told investigators Smollett paid them to attack him as he made his way back to his condo from a Subway restaurant.
According to Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, the Cook County judge likely dropped the case because the government discovered “some impediment to the presentation of this case” that will make it impossible to put the 2 witness on the witness stand.
Or Smollett agreed to a “once-in-a-lifetime” deferred prosecution deal when a crime is not one of violence, drug trafficking or “part of a criminal enterprise.”
Napolitano said a “deferred prosecution” deal usually requires an admission of guilt. But an admission of guilt is not required in Chicago.
It was the same type of deal offered to NFL owner Robert Kraft following his arrest on prostitution charges in Florida. But Kraft rejected the deal.
Smollett can now publicly claim his innocence and portray himself as a victim. But he most likely accepted a sweetheart deal that does not involve an admission of guilt.
Police are reportedly furious that all charges have been dropped against the actor. Earlier this month, a Chicago Police union requested that the U.S. Attorney General in the Northern District of Illinois investigate Cook County State Prosecutor Kim Foxx for improper conduct for pressuring the police to turn over Smollett’s case to the FBI.
The feds are still considering federal charges for mailing himself a threatening letter.
According to social media polls, Smollett is still guilty in the court of public opinion.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images