Jussie Smollett spoke out for the first time since the 16 felony charges against him were dropped.
Smollett held a press conference moments after the decision was announced.
The 16 felony charges filed against “Empire” star @JussieSmollett have been dropped. The actor was accused of allegedly staging a hate crime attack on himself.— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 26, 2019
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.” pic.twitter.com/zmml4b1XeJ
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of,” Smollett said.
He also thanked his supporters for standing by him and the state for “attempting to do what’s right.”
“I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain,” Smollett said. “I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”
The Smollett family released a statement praising the decision, reports Variety.
“Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared,” the statement read. “Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of. He was the victim of an assault and then falsely blamed for his own attack. This morning truth has prevailed and he has been vindicated. All charges have been dismissed and his record expunged (cleared).”
Smollett pleaded not guilty to 16 false police report charges on March 14. He was accused of staging a racist and homophobic hate crime with Ola and Abel Osundairo to advance his career.
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Smollett and his supporters might be relieved, but his opponents are upset about the decision.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes the city’s reputation is “in the mud” because of this situation, according to Deadline.
“He did this all in the name of self-promotion,” Emanuel said at a press conference an hour before Smollett spoke. “This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could not have been clearer. Where is the accountability in the system?”
He also accused Smollett of using the LGBTQ rights movement for personal gain.
“To use the very laws and principles and values behind the Matthew Shepherd [hate crime laws] to self-promote your career is a cost that comes to all the individuals, gay men and women, who will now be doubted,” he added.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also had harsh words for the actor.
“Do I think justice was served? No,” said Johnson. “And I think this city is still owed an apology.”
Joseph Magats, assistant to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, insists the decision doesn’t mean Smollett is innocent.
“We didn’t exonerate him,” Magats said. “We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case. The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence.”
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