In one of the most unimaginable reversals in the history of jurisprudence, all 16 felony counts brought against Jussie Smollett have been dropped by prosecutors, according to NBC News.
The startling announcement comes nearly a month after the Cook county State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed the that a grand jury had indicted Smollett for filing a false police report.
As noted by ABC 7 Chicago back on March 8:
The grand jury returned two separate sets of charges. The first set are related to what Smollett told officers about the alleged attack, including that the attackers called him racial and homophobic slurs, struck him with their hands, put a noose around his neck, and poured some sort of chemical substance on him.
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The bizarre 180 comes in spite of evidence that Smollett had paid two brothers, Abel and Ola Osundairo $3,500 to stage an anti-gay attack against him on a Chicago street, that the three had rehearsed the attack before staging it, and that Smollett had even directed them to buy a rope that would be fashioned into a noose that Smollett wore around his neck when authorities found him. One of the brothers still had a receipt for the rope purchase from Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood section of the city.
But at 10:30 Central Time today, following an emergency hearing in a Chicago courtroom, Smollett’s attorneys released statement saying that the actor’s “record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him.” The statement further maintained:
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.
Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.
There is no word on whether the federal charges filed against the actor for sending an apparently dangerous substance through the U.S. Mail have also been dropped.