Charges against ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett dropped

Smollett had pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct earlier this month

All criminal charges against the Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped by prosecutors.

The 36-year-old pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct at a hearing earlier this month, which followed his arrest in February for filing a false police report. Smollett had been accused of lying to police about an alleged racist and homophobic attack he said he was the victim of on January 29.

A fresh hearing was called today (March 26) in Chicago, where a judge dismissed the case against Smollett. A statement issued by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed that the charges had been dropped, as they “believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case”.

Speaking outside court, Smollett thanked his supporters and said he had been “truthful and consistent on every 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 said. “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 am a man that has knowledge of our history, and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn’t.”

Lawyers for the actor released a statement shortly after the hearing, saying that Smollett’s record “had been wiped clean”.

“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,” Smollett’s attorneys, Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement (via NBC News). “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 lawyers continued.

“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. The entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion.”