Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against ‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Responds
On Tuesday, after all charges were dropped against Empire actor Jussie Smollet, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel slammed prosecutors for their decision.
“Not only do I support the hard work of our police officers and detective units, but I’d like to remind everybody: A grand jury indicted this individual based only on a piece of the evidence that the police had collected at that period of time,” Emanuel said.
During a court hearing on Tuesday, prosecutors dropped the 16 felony charges Smollett had for allegedly orchestrating a January 29 attack on himself, during which he said two men threw a bleach-like chemical on him, called him anti-gay slurs, and put a rope around his neck. During an interview with police at the time, Smollet also said that one of the attackers shouted: “This is MAGA country.”
Prosecutors said that they made their decision to drop the charges after Smollett forfeited the $10,000 bond he paid and because of his service to the community.
After his hearing, Smollet spoke outside the courthouse saying, “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’ve been accused of,” he added.
But Emanuel still wasn’t convinced, “Is there no decency in this man?” he asked.
The mayor called the prosecutors’ decision and the amount of resources the city spent investigating the crime a “whitewash of justice.” “The financial cost of $10,000 doesn’t even come close to what the city spent in resources to actually look over the camera [footage], gather all the data, gather all the information that brought the indictment by the grand jury, on many, many multiple different charges,” Emanuel said.
He also insinuated that Smollet used “hate crimes legislation” as a way to promote his own career. Describing it as an ethical cost “to all the individuals, gay men and women, who will come forward and say they were the victim of a hate crime will now be doubted.”
Emanuel urged for measures to be taken in the justice system and compared the Smollet incident to the recent college admission scandal, which involves at least 50 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
“You cannot have, because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else,” he said.
He then went on to condemn Smollet for “still running down the Chicago Police Department” while “saying that he is innocent.”
“How dare him?” he said.
Emanuel concluded with saying that Smollet’s actions are “an insult and an offense to every one of us who” upholds the law in Chicago “because they reflect who we are as a city and because of the hate crime legislation that’s federal [reflects] who we are as a country.”