A grand jury indicted Jussie Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in February. Cook County prosecutors on March 26, 2019, dropped all charges against Smollett on disorderly conduct charges. The 36-year-old actor vehemently denied lying to police and faking a homophobic attack in the Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29, 2019.
While prosecutors claimed to have overwhelming evidence, the deal did not require Smollett to admit he did anything wrong. What’s more, Smollett’s lawyers have vehemently disputed there was an agreement at all, and now the entire court file has been sealed at the defense’s request.
The unanswered questions surrounding the development left many wondering what might have happened behind the scenes. It also appeared to have caught Chicago police brass by surprise and brought swift condemnation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.”
“From top to bottom, this is not on the level,” Emanuel told reporters at an afternoon news conference, emphasizing repeatedly that a grand jury had chosen to bring 16 counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett. “Where’s the accountability in the system?”
"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."— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 27, 2019
WATCH: Jussie Smollett speaks after charges against him are dropped. https://t.co/Id9kl0RQzI pic.twitter.com/gNjDv4T3vp
Democrat Senator Kamala Harris on Jussie Smollett's charges being dropped: "I’m completely confused. I don’t understand. I don’t know, I don’t know the underlying evidence. ... I don’t know. I’m at a loss."— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 27, 2019
Harris had called the alleged attack an "attempted modern-day lynching" pic.twitter.com/gQYeX28rT6