Jussie Smollett charges dropped

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2:21 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

The county's top prosecutor recused herself from the investigation last month

Today's announcement that charges against actor Jussie Smollett were dropped comes more than a month after the county's top prosecutor recused herself from the investigation.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself "out of an abundance of caution," according to a spokeswoman from her office.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case," spokesperson Tandra Simonton said at the time.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office didn't immediately explain why the 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct were dropped against Smollett today, except to say it came after reviewing the case's facts, and in view of Smollett's agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond. Parts of the case will be sealed, one of Smollett's attorneys said.

2:02 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Chicago mayor: "Mr. Smollett is still saying he is innocent. How dare him?"

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took issue with Jussie Smollett telling reporters earlier that he was innocent, while "still running down the Chicago Police Department."

"How dare him? How dare him?" Rahm said.

"This is a person now who has been let off scot-free with no sense of accountability of the moral and ethical wrong of his actions," Emanuel said.

He admonished Smollett for "using hate crime laws that are on the books to protect people who are minorities from violence" only to "turn around and use those laws to advance your career and financial reward."

"Is there no decency in this man?" the mayor said.

What Smollett said: Speaking to reporters earlier today, Smollett described his actions as "truthful."

"I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one," he said. "I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."

Watch the moment:

1:54 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Police superintendent says he learned about the dropped charges at the same time the public did

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said his department learned about the dropped charges when the news was made public.

"We found out when you all did," he said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cast doubt on the state's actions, saying it was "not on the level."

"From top to bottom, this is not on the level ... It's not on the level, but I also want to say I want to emphasize what the superintendent just said. At the end of the day, it's Mr. Smollett that committed this false claim upon two individuals and who also testified, but also on the city. One action, yes, we're looking at the state's attorney. It's not on the level from beginning to end and there needs to be a level of accountability throughout the system, and this sends an ambiguous message that there is no accountability and that is wrong," he said.
1:55 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Chicago mayor: "This is a whitewash of justice"

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Jussie Smollett used the law for his own benefit, and it hurts future victims of hate crimes.

"He used the laws of the hate crime association that all of us through the years have put on the books to stand up to be the values that embody what we believe in," Emanuel said. "This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could not have been clearer."

He also compared the case to the recent college admissions scam, in which the Department of Justice accused wealthy families of bribing college coaches and admissions officials to get their children into schools.

"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," Mayor Emmanuel said. "In another way, you're seeing this play out in universities where people pay extra to get their kids a special position in universities. Now you have a person, because of their position and background who is getting treated in a way that nobody else would ever..."

1:45 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Chicago police superintendent: "Do I think justice was served? No."

Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed his disappointment over today's dropped charges in the Jussie Smollett case.

"Do I think justice was served? No. What do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology," he said.

Johnson, who's been an officer for 31 years, suggested Smollett's attorneys brokered a deal.

"I've heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth and know they tried to hide behind secrecy to broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system," he said.

Johnson said he stands behind his department's investigation.

1:38 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Fox "gratified" charges against Smollett were dismissed

From CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez

Fox and 20th Century Fox Television are "gratified" that the case against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett was dropped, a spokesperson said in a statement.

“Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed,” spokesperson Chris Alexander said in the statement.

The studio and network produce the series “Empire,” the television drama on which Smollett has appeared since 2015. 

12:29 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Smollett's court records have been sealed, his attorney says

Jussie Smollett's attorney Patricia Brown Holmes, speaking to reporters today, said records in her client's court case have been sealed.

She did not provide details about the order, only saying that the state dropped charges against Smollett and moved to "seal the record in this case." 

"I have no idea what occurred in this case and why it occurred. I can just say things seemed to spiral somewhat out of control. We've gotten to a result that is the right result in this case and we're happy for that," Holmes said.
12:21 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Smollett takes selfies with fans outside court

Actor Jussie Smollett talked to fans and took selfies with them as he waited outside the courthouse after charges against him were dropped.

Reporters and cameras swarmed the "Empire" actor as he waited for a vehicle. Smollett ignored questions shouted at him.

One woman shouted, "How you feel Jussie? You feel good? You look good! You look good!"

1:50 p.m. ET, March 26, 2019

Smollett charges dropped "not part of a deferred prosecution"

At a post hearing press conference, Patricia Holmes, attorney for Jussie Smollett, says the state made a legal decision to seal the records and drop the charges.

She clarified it is “not part of a deferred prosecution” and there “is no deal.”

Holmes urged the Chicago Police “not to jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law.”