by Jenn Carter
In a shocking announcement Tuesday morning that is leaving many questioning political motives, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it will not be prosecuting Jussie Smollett, who was previously indicted by a Grand Jury for faking an anti-black, anti-gay hate crime in Chicago in order to drum up publicity for his role on the TV drama “Empire.”
24News has learned the judge granted a nolle pros, which essentially means that the case has been dropped and that he will no longer be prosecuted for the alleged crime.
It’s unclear at this time why the court decided not to proceed with prosecution, but the former “Empire” star is expected to give a statement after he leaves the courthouse later today.
Smollett previously pled “not guilty” to 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the alleged incident in which he claimed two men beat him, poured bleach on him and placed a rope around his neck before yelling, “This is MAGA country.” His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett’s behalf just hours after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned the case. The next court date was scheduled for April 17.
However, Smollett was brought in for an emergency court session in which the judge ruled the case against him would be dropped.
Bizarrely, despite Smollett’s lawyers claiming his innocence, the actor will reportedly forfeit a $10,000 bond, and perform “community service” — an odd “deal” for someone “innocent.”
Doubt was first cast on the open-and-shut nature of the case when Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham wrote the Justice Department following reports that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx asked Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to let the FBI investigate Smollett’s allegations that he was attacked by two masked men after the former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama allegedly informed Foxx that Smollett’s family had concerns about the probe.
Even TMZ — which broke the news of the fake “attack” — was stunned by the arrangement:
We’re told the State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, told Chicago police she was dropping the case because Jussie would have only gotten community service if convicted and she said he has already performed community service so there is no point in prosecuting him. We could not find any record of Smollett doing community service.
We’re told Chicago police are “furious” and are alleging a “corrupt deal” going on with Kim Foxx.
Smollett is politically-connected in the Democrat party both in Chicago and nationally, having appeared at events with everyone from close ally Sen. Kamala Harris, to the Obamas.
Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.”
A rep for Fox, which produces and airs “Empire,” said the studio and network had no immediate comment.
A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.
There is no word at this hour if Smollett will still face Federal charges for allegedly mailing himself phony death threats via USPS — a felony, among other potential charges.
This is a developing story. Refresh the page for updates.