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Fox 'Gratified' That Charges Have Been Dropped Against 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett

TheWrap logo TheWrap 3/26/2019 Jennifer Maas
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(Video provided by NBC News)

"Empire" network Fox and studio 20th Century Fox TV are "gratified" on behalf of Jussie Smollett, following the news that all charges have been dropped against the actor.

"Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed," the studio and network said in a joint statement Tuesday.

All criminal charges against Smollett were dropped Tuesday after the "Empire" star was indicted on 16 counts of filing a false police report earlier this month. He appeared in court on March 14 to plead not guilty to those disorderly conduct charges after being accused of lying to police regarding a Jan. 29 incident, in which Smollett said he was randomly attacked by two men shouting racial and homophobic slurs in his Chicago neighborhood.

"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," the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said in a statement Tuesday.

Jussie Smollett wearing a suit and tie: Jussie Smollett’s ‘Empire’ Scenes Cut Down in Remaining Season 5 Episodes © Provided by The Wrap News, Inc. Jussie Smollett’s ‘Empire’ Scenes Cut Down in Remaining Season 5 Episodes Smollett — who plays the openly gay Jamal Lyon on Fox's hip-hop drama — was originally charged with one felony count for filing a false police report last month. Smollett and his attorneys continuously denied any wrongdoing throughout the criminal proceedings, as police accused the actor of staging the attack himself. His next court date had been set for April 17.

"Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions," she continued. "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."

Holmes added that "there was no deal" to get the Cook County State's Attorney's Office to drop the charges against the "Empire" star.

"There was no deal. The state dismissed the charges," Holmes said Tuesday morning during a press conference outside the Cook County courthouse. She added that Smollett "voluntarily" agreed to forfeit his bond. "I don't have information that the state would have as to why they dropped these charges."

Smollett spoke shortly after Holmes, beginning by thanking all of his supporters. "I have been truthful and consistent on every level since day one. I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of," he said. "This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But I am a man of faith and I am a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives or the movement through a fire like this. I just wouldn't."

Smollett concluded: "Now I'd like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistake, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."

Smollett attorney Mark Geragos added via Twitter: "Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dismissed by the Prosecution. Jussie's record has been wiped clean. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify. He was a victim and was victimized again in a rush to judgment. Apologies accepted."

Smollett surrendered himself to Chicago police on Feb. 21, hours after he was formally charged. He was released from police custody later that afternoon, after posting bail and surrendering his passport following a bond hearing, and quickly returned to work on the set of "Empire."

However, the following day, executive producers said they had decided to remove Smollett from the final two episodes of the show's current season.

 

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