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Prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett believes he is guilty

"To say that he was exonerated by us or anyone else is not true," he told ABC Chicago.

Jussie Smollett // Artist Instagram

Jussie Smollett is officially a free man.

On Tuesday (March 26), all 16 felony counts against the "Empire" actor was dropped by prosecutors. The decision was made after Smollett reportedly completed 18 hours of community service with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in two days and forfeited his bond of $10k to the city of Chicago.

State Attorney Kim Fox's office released a statement defending the outcome of the case 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."

However, later that day, the Cook County prosecutor who cleared Smollett in the alleged staging of a homophobic and racial attack earlier this year told CBS Chicago he believed the actor was still guilty. "I do not believe he is innocent," First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats said.

Magats continued, "Based on all facts and circumstances of the case, and also keeping in mind resources and keeping in mind that the office's number one priority is to combat violent crime and the drivers of violence, I decided to offer this disposition in the case."

In an interview with ABC Chicago, Magats reiterated those sentiments. When asked if he believed there was a "racial, homophobic attack" on Smollett he responded, "We believe he did what he was charged with doing." Magats also said he believed Smollett lied on the police report and said that although the charges were dropped, it was "not an exoneration."

"To say that he was exonerated by us or anyone else is not true," he told the network. Magats told the reporter that discussions about how things would resolve had been going on for weeks before the final decision was made to the public.

In his CBS Chicago interview, Magats dismissed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's criticism of the prosecutor's handling of the case. During a press conference on Tuesday, Emanuel called the decision to drop Smollett's charges a "whitewash of justice." "[It] sends a clear message that if you are in a position of influence and power, you'll get treated one way and other people will be treated another way," he denounced.

"Not true, it's just not," Magats responded. "It's not a whitewash, he did community service, he has forfeited his bond, it's just not a whitewash."

Although Smollett's charges over lying to the Chicago PD have been dropped, he may face additional legal trouble. The FBI is currently hard at work trying to determine the original sender of the threatening letter he received eight days prior to the alleged attack, TMZ reports. If it is found that Smollett sent himself the letter, he could face federal charges.

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