Chicago prosecutors dropped charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett in a deferred-prosecution deal on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Smollett, who was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly hiring two men to attack him in a staged hate-crime attack near his home in January, reached deal with prosecutors that will wipe out the charges against him. He will forfeit the $10,000 he posted for bond.
“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,” said the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes cited what they called a “tragic complaint” against Smollett and said he was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29. The attorneys said, “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 judgment.” They said the case showed that, “There should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion.”
Smollett pleaded not guilty on March 14 to charges he staged a hate-crime attack against himself. He hired celebrity attorney Mark Geragos as his lead lawyer, and had permission to travel to Geragos’ offices in Los Angeles and New York with 48 hours notice to court officials.
A grand jury charged Smollett with 16 counts of disorderly conduct, one count for each crime he claimed to have suffered when he made statements to police when he first reported being attacked on Jan. 29, and one count each for repeating his account of the attack to a detective. The charges were Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under Illinois law.