In a shocking twist to a complicated story, Jussie Smollett‘s lawyers say charges alleging he lied to police about the attack have been dropped.
Smollett’s attorneys said in a statement Tuesday morning that the actor’s record “has been wiped clean.”
“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,” the statement continued.
Smollett himself appeared outside of a Chicago courtroom Tuesday morning with family members and his lawyer and made a statement to the media about the recent turn of events. “I have been truthful and consistent on every single level of this thing since day one. Now I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and get back on with my life,” he said to a throng of cameras and reporters.
Smollett’s family has also released a statement, obtained by TMZ: “This morning truth has prevailed and (Jussie) has been vindicated. While many were quick to rush to judgement before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light. We look forward to bringing the real perpetrators to justice.”
Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.
Brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo later came forward claiming that Smollett paid them to orchestrate the attack and Chicago detectives said the Empire actor perpetrated the hoax as a means to get attention and further his acting career because he was unsatisfied with his pay on the hit show.
Throughout the ordeal, members of his Empire family stood by his side, including co-star Terrence Howard and show creator Lee Daniels, who recently shared that the cast was having trouble dealing with the “pain, anger, sadness and frustration” surrounding the Smollett incident. Smollett entered a not guilty plea on March 14 and has always maintained his innocence.
Smollett volunteered to give up his $10, 000 bond, likely to the city of Chicago. The record of the case will be sealed to the public and no plea deal was struck.
After news broke about the charges being dropped, the police chief and mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, took the opportunity to double-down on their belief that justice has not been served, with Emmanuel calling it “a whitewash of justice”, asking “Is there no decency in this man?”
-With files from AP