Charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett dropped, lawyers say

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Charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett dropped, lawyers say

by - 2 min read

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Lawyers for Empire actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped.

Smollett’s lawyers, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes, said in a Tuesday morning statement that his record “has been wiped clean.”

Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

In a statement, prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton offered no detailed explanation.

The statement 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 had made a $10,000 US bond payment to the city to get out of jail after his arrest on the charges.

Police and prosecutors have said the American actor falsely reported to authorities he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

Smollett, who is black and gay, plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows members of a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

Smollett reported that he had been attacked on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck.

He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.

Police said Smollett hired two men, both of whom are black, to attack him. Police said Smollett paid the men $3,500 US.

The men are brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and one of them had worked on Empire. An attorney for them has said the brothers agreed to help Smollett because of their friendship with him and the belief that he was helping their careers.

Police have also said that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where Empire is shot. The FBI, which is investigating that letter, has declined to comment on the investigation.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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