Prosecutors have dropped charges in their case against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.
The 36-year-old performer had been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report after he told Chicago police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
News of the stunning turn of events in the case came Tuesday after an emergency court hearing in Chicago.
"After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’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 told ITK in a statement.
"We standby the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case," the statement continued.
Smollett's attorneys said "his record has been wiped clean" in a statement released Tuesday.
“Jussie was attacked by two 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," the statement read.
The move to drop charges was the latest twist in a story that has taken countless wild turns.
Smollett had told Chicago police in January that he was assaulted by two men who beat him, placed a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him as they yelled racial and homophobic slurs. He later told authorities that the two alleged assailants also shouted the pro-Trump phrase, “This is MAGA country!”
But after originally saying they considered Smollett the victim of a "possible hate crime," Chicago police later accused the entertainer of arranging the attack against himself, paying two men to stage it.
Earlier this month, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Cook County, Ill.
“This stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his [‘Empire’] salary,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in February during a blistering news conference.
“Do I think justice was served? No,” Johnson said on Tuesday.
“I think this city is still owed an apology,” he added.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Smollett "did this all in the name of self-promotion" as he addressed reporters alongside Johnson.
“This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could not have been clearer,” Emanuel said. “Where is the accountability in the system?”
Before the charges against him were announced, multiple 2020 Democratic presidential candidates had weighed in on Smollett’s story, referring to the alleged attack as a “modern-day lynching.”
President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE, who had initially called the alleged attack “horrible,” later slammed Smollett, writing on Twitter to the actor, “what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?”
In the wake of his arrest, the executive producers of Fox's "Empire" had announced they were cutting Smollett from the last two episodes of the season. After the charges against the actor were dropped on Tuesday, 20th Century Fox and Fox Entertainment issued a statement: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
Smollett, addressing reporters after his hearing said he has "been truthful and consistent on every single level" since the incident first occurred.
“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of," he said.
“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.”
"I would like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life," Smollett said. "But make no mistakes: I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere."
Asked for any comment regarding the Chicago Police Department, Smollett’s lawyer, Patricia Brown Holmes, told journalists during brief remarks, “We have nothing to say the police department except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press… not to jump ahead and utilize the press to convict people before they are tried in a court of law.”
—Updated at 1:58 p.m.