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Jussie Smollett charges dropped

Jussie Smollett sentencing: get caught up on the saga
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What we covered here

  • The latest: Two Chicago Police supplemental reports on the Jussie Smollett case have been released. We’re going through them now, and will post highlights here.
  • Charges dismissed: All charges against Smollett — who had been accused of staging a hate crime and filing a false police report — have been dropped, his attorneys say.
  • The charges: The “Empire” actor was indicted earlier this month on 16 felony counts by a Cook County grand jury.
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State's Attorney believed her office could prove Smollett guilty

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, in her interview with CNN Chicago affiliate WLS, expressed confidence her office could have proved Jussie Smollett guilty.

State's Attorney: Smollett representative did reach out to her

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx tells CNN Chicago affiliate WLS that a relative of actor Jussie Smollett did reach out to her and expressed concerns about the investigation.  

The caller asked if there was a way she could make sure the leaks were at a minimum in the case. Foxx says the family reached out to her because they didn’t have connections in the police department, and indicates this was before Smollett was named as a suspect in the case. The relatives had asked Foxx if there was any way the FBI could take over the investigation.  

Foxx says she shared the fact that she spoke with the family member with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson about their request for the FBI to take it over. Foxx said the case was not being treated differently and notes that people reach out to her all the time.  

Cook County State's Attorney: Smollett's "court file was not supposed to be sealed"

The court files in Actor Jussie Smollett’s case were not supposed to be sealed, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told CNN’s Affiliate WLS in an on-camera interview Wednesday.

She says her office did not advocate, do not believe the court files would be sealed. Foxx tells WLS she believes the court files are in the process of being unsealed.

State's Attorney: "We have to be driven by facts"

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — who recused herself from the Jussie Smollett case in February after exchange text messages with Smollett family friends — said there are a lot of emotions surrounding the case, but insisted that her office has “to be driven by facts.”

“There’s some people who were never gonna be satisfied unless Mr. Smollett spent many nights in prison, and then there were others who believed that the charging of 16 counts of disorderly conduct was excessive,” she told CNN affiliate WBEZ.

Some background: Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case after text messages showed Smollett family friend Tina Tchen reached out to Foxx on February 1. Tchen wrote the family had “concerns about the investigation.”

Foxx emailed Tchen saying in part, “Spoke to Superintendent Johnson. I convinced him to (r)each out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get back to me shortly.”

Later another person, identified by Foxx’s office as a family friend, asked the prosecutor whether they could talk on the phone. She says Tchen gave her Foxx’s number.

Hours later, Foxx texts the unidentified family friend that she “spoke to the (police) superintendent earlier, he made the ask. Trying to figure out the logistics.”

The person responds: “Omg this would be a huge victory.”

Jussie Smollett wasn't handcuffed or put in a jail cell, officer says

The reporting officer in one of the police reports said that Jussie Smollett was never handcuffed, placed in a cell, or “subjected to the media” while in an officer’s presence.

One of the brothers who attacked Smollett said he poured bleach on the actor, police say

A major twist in the Jussie Smollett case came when police alleged that the actor hired two brothers and paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were arrested last month after police tracked the cabs and rideshare cars they used before the attack. The men eventually confessed to the alleged plot and appeared before a grand jury but they were released without charges.

According to the just-released police reports, one of the Osundairo brothers told police after testifying to the grand jury that it felt good to tell the truth — but still felt that police may want to charge him.

One of the Osundairo brothers told the police he put bleach into an El Yucateco hot sauce bottle and poured it on Smollett, according to the reports.

Chicago Police reports on Jussie Smollett's case were just released

Two Chicago Police supplemental reports on the Jussie Smollett case have been released as a result of FOIA requests from the media.

Some context: These reports are all supplemental police documentation that classifies Smollett as an “offender,” according to Chicago Police Sgt. Peter Edwards. The police documents that classify Smollett as a “victim” — which was prior to when charges were filed — have not been made public. 

CNN affiliate WLS obtained copies of the reports. You can read them here and here.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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 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…”

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.

Johnson said he stands behind his department’s investigation.

Fox "gratified" charges against Smollett were dismissed

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

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

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.

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!”

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.”

Jussie Smollett: "I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one"

Jussie Smollett spoke following the announcement that the charges against him have been dropped.

Smollett called himself a “man of faith” and said he wanted to move on with his life.

“I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me.”

Smollett's attorney calls state's decision to drop his case "the correct result"

Patricia Brown Holmes, Jussie Smollett’s attorney, just spoke to the media at the Cook County courthouse.

“Today as you have figured out, the state made a motion to drop the charges against Jussie Smollett and to seal the record in this case,” she told reporters.

She added, “We believe that it was the correct result in this case. We’re very happy for this result. And we are very anxious for Jussie to get on with his career and his life and to move forward.”

CNN is still waiting for a statement from Gloria Schmidt, attorney for the Osundairo brothers. We have removed a statement that was incorrectly attributed to her.

Fox has "no comment" on Jussie Smollett charges being dropped

The studio and network behind the television drama “Empire” declined to comment on the charges being dropped against actor Jussie Smollett, who appears on the show. 

Here’s a statement CNN just got from Chris Alexander, a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television and the Fox network:

“Many of you have reached out regarding today’s developments in the Jussie Smollett case. As of this time, the studio and network have no comment. I will of course let you know if that changes.”

What Cook County prosecutors are saying about the dropped charges

Cook County State’s Attorney has dropped the charges against actor Jussie Smollett.

Here’s what prosecutors said in a statement:

“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.”

Smollett had been charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was indicted earlier this month on 16 felony counts after authorities said he filed false reports of a crime.

The indictment charged Smollett, 36, with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.

Here’s how things started: Smollett reported to police in January that he had been attacked in Chicago in an incident that ended with a noose around his neck. Police initially investigated the case as a possible hate crime.

The indictment: The indictment said Smollett told police he was attacked by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs during an attack at 2 a.m.

After police detained two brothers who were “persons of interest” in mid-February, police sources revealed that authorities suspected Smollett knew the men and allegedly had paid them $3,500 to stage the attack. The men were released without being charged.

Smollett denied any involvement in orchestrating an attack.

Jussie Smollett's lawyers say charges against him have been dropped

Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett said all the criminal charges against him have been dropped.

Smollett — who authorities said filed false reports of a crime — was indicted earlier this month on 16 felony counts by a Cook County grand jury.

Attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes released this statement:

“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. 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. 
Jussie 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.”