The Cook County state’s attorney who dropped felony charges against Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that he does not believe the move vindicates or exonerates the Empire actor, who police say staged a racial and homophobic attack against himself in late January.
“I do not believe he is innocent,” Joseph Magats said in an interview with CBS Chicago.
Smollett, 36, was charged earlier this month with 16 felony counts for false report of offense. When asked why he dropped the charges, Magats said, “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.” He also refuted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s claims that “this is a whitewash of justice.”
CBS Chicago also confirmed that Smollett put in 16 hours of community service over the weekend at Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which the state’s attorney’s office previously cited along with the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond.
“The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is an international human rights/civil rights organization that is committed to advancing the human rights of all people,” the organization said in its own statement Tuesday. “When we first heard of Jussie Smollett’s crisis, we reached out to him and Empire to see if we could be helpful. Jussie met with us and has given of himself to our organization and the movement for social justice.
“We have members and supporters across the country and around the world,” the statement continued. “Many of our members and supporters give of themselves and their time to help achieve the goals of the organization. Jussie is a member of our organization. He, like many other members, has given of his time and talent and continues to do so. During this period of disruption to his life and livelihood, Jussie has spent time here helping to advance this important work. There was no court-ordered community service here.”