Empire actor Jussie Smollett spoke Tuesday from Chicago after news broke that all felony disorderly conduct charges, of which there were 17 counts, have been dropped and the case is sealed. Smollett’s representatives spoke just now to the press and reiterated that Smollett was a “victim,” that he didn’t know who attacked him, and that the Osundairo brothers who testified that the attack was a hoax already admitted to attacking Smollett.
Smollett himself spoke and said that he has been “truthful” and “consistent” all along.
“I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain. I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he said, adding “This has been an incredibly difficult time, honestly one of the worst of my entire life.”
Smollett said that he wants to “get back to work and move on with my life.” Smollett also said that he wouldn’t be his mother’s son if he’d done what was alleged.
It’s not entirely clear how charges ended up being dropped, but it appears prosecutors’ case against Smollett may have fallen apart for one reason or another. Smollett will do “voluntary” community service and forfeit bond, but he will not serve jail time. It remains to be see how this will be resolved as regards Abel and Ola Osundairo, two persons of interest who ended up turning into witnesses in the now-dismissed charges against Smollett.
Smollett attorney Mark Geragos, who was identified Monday as an alleged co-conspirator in a case against attorney Michael Avenatti, already previewed how the defense might fight charges.
On his podcast Reasonable Doubt, Geragos asked the kind of questions that you might expect to be asked in a courtroom on cross examination. Remember: Chicago Police initially identified the Osundairos as persons of interest in the attack. Days later, they were no longer considered persons of interest but victims, and were released from custody without being charged. They also provided information that was deemed credible enough for an indictment.
Geragos wanted to know what happened after the witnesses were taken into custody but before they were released, and why.
“Did you charge them? Did you give them immunity? Did you do anything with them?” he said. “You said they changed their story in the 48th hour — why did they change their story? Was it lawyer-driven?”
Geragos claimed at the time that, actually, the real case was against the exonerated witnesses.
“I have not seen anything that supports this idea or the narrative that they put out there that he was in cahoots with anyone. They have a whale of a case against the two guys — the two brothers — but that’s it,” he said. If there was a deal involved, you can expect the defense attorneys will argue that this more than taints the witness explanation. Geragos further claimed that the narrative that Smollett was pissed off about his salary was “not true.”
“They didn’t talk to his lawyer, they didn’t talk to anybody at the production company, they didn’t talk to an agent,” Geragos continued. “Nobody. I’ve done that. I know for a fact that’s untrue. That’s categorically untrue. That’s not the motivation, yet that was what was articulated as the motivation.”
There have been many questions about Smollett’s truthfulness ever since the Chicago Police held a press conference accused Smollett of lying about being the victim of a homophobic and racist assault that included a noose, bleach, and the comment, “This is MAGA country.” His Good Morning America interview and a hate letter that was reportedly sent to the Empire set were after that viewed with new eyes.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson publicly alleged that Smollett “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” and paid the Osundairo brothers $3,500–by check– to carry out the hoax attack. Meanwhile, questions have also been raised about Chicago PD leaks about this case.
[Image via Facebook screengrab]
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