TMZ is reporting all criminal charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped.
According to reports, Smollett will surrender his $10,000 bond, but that will be the only penalty paid by the actor.
As TMZ writes, “The case is over.”
A statement from Smollett’s lawyers reads, “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 2 people he was unable to identify on January 29th,” the statement continued. “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.”
Saying Smollett and others were “hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions,” the attorneys described the situation as “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.”
The statement concludes with: “Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
Smollett was facing 16 felony counts of lying to police in the alleged racial and homophobic attack.
The actor had reported to the police that on January 29, he was attacked by two men who physically assaulted him, poured an unidentified liquid on his head, and put a noose around his neck – all while allegedly yelling homophobic and racist slurs.
But TMZ reports, via sources close to Smollett, that the prosecution’s case “disintegrated.”
For one thing, a $3,500 check from Smollett to the two brothers seems to have become problematic. While the police asserted the check was for taking part in the fake attack, Smollett’s claim that it was for physical training appears to be true.
Additionally, while the Police Superintendent told the press that Smollett wrote himself a threatening letter 6 days before the attack, it seems the FBI had not concluded who wrote the letter.
UPDATE – Outside a Chicago courthouse today, Smollett made this statement:
“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.”