Jussie Smollett has won a major victory in his case. The 36-year-old was facing 16 felony charges for lying to police over an alleged homophobic and racial attack earlier this year. All charges have been dropped, TMZ reports.
On Tuesday (March 16), Chicago State Attorney Kim Fox released a statement via her office saying, "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 and his lawyers arrived in court to face the judge and reportedly surrendered his $10,000 bond. The "Empire" actor has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and pleaded not guilty to all charges after his arrest in February.
Smollett briefly addressed the press in front of the courthouse on Tuesday. "First of all 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," he said. "No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will be forever grateful. I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain."
Smollett added, "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 called the legal process "an incredibly difficult time" but said he wanted to get back to work and "move on with my life."
"But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. So again thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you. Thank you very much," he concluded.
Smollett's lawyers also released a statement after the charges were dropped against their client saying, "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 2 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 judgment."
His lawyers continued, "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."