Cook County prosecutors all dropped the 16 counts of disorderly conduct facing Empire actor Jussie Smollett, according to multiple sources.
Smollett maintains that he was the victim of a brutal attack in Streeterville the early morning of Jan 29. Weeks later, authorities charged that Smollett had staged the attack with acquaintances and falsely asserted that it was a hate crime.
Prosecutors called the March 26 reversal "a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case," Chicago Tribune reported.
Attorneys for Smollett followed up in a statement saying that the actor "is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career."
Smollett has maintained his innocence all along.
The case has all along been marked by a number of unusual circumstances and turns-of-events, as well as shifts in public support. Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) said they were investigating the case rigorously, but were vocal and public with their admonition of Smollett when many details around the actor's account seemingly did not hold up to scrutiny.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from Smollett's case early in her office's investigation into the matter. Prosecutors had said that Smollett's alleged staging of a hate crime was an attention-seeking gambit in response to the Empire show-producers' lack of a response to a racist and homophobic letter attacking Smollett. They further alleged Smollett had created that letter as well.
The actor was written out of the final episodes from Empire's current season. A federal investigation into the letterwhich, if forged, would constitute mail fraudis ongoing.
Chicago Tribune's article is at https://bit.ly/2UXXQ5o .