After the Chicago Police Department dropped all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett on Tuesday morning, the actor appeared in front of the courthouse to speak to the public.
In the brief press conference, Smollett thanked his friends and family and those who stood by him.
“I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain,” he said, Variety reports. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.”
— CNN (@CNN) March 26, 2019
He continued, “This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life. But 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.”
“Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life. But make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere. So again thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith and thank you to God. Bless you. Thank you very much.”
Smollett faced 16 counts of filing a false police report, each of them considered a felony. Earlier today, Smollett’s lawyers released a statement announcing the charges had been dropped.
“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29,” the statement reads. “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 says Smollett was “hurt” by these “unfair and unwarranted actions.”
“This entire case is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion,” the statement continues.
Chicago Police said that his volunteer service and payment of his bond were a “just disposition and appropriate resolution” to this case.
Smollett’s family issued a statement earlier calling him an “innocent man” and saying he had been “vindicated.”
“While many were quick to rush to judgment before hearing the actual truth, we are grateful that the truth about Jussie has come to light,” the family said.
Here's a statement from the Smollett family after the Chicago PD has dropped charges against Jussie Smollett. pic.twitter.com/ZEuwXGKodm
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) March 26, 2019
Smollett originally told police that he experienced an alleged racist and homophobic attack in the early hours of Jan. 29 near his home in Chicago. He said the attackers yelled that this was “MAGA country” during the attack. They also allegedly poured bleach on him and tied a rope around his neck. Police later alleged that the Empire actor paid two brothers, Ola and Abel Osundairo, $3,500 to stage the attack.
Smollett was later charged with filing a false police report after Chicago police spoke to the Osundairo brothers. The charge is a class 4 felony with a possibility of a 3-year sentence. Smollett turned himself in on February 21 and was later released on $100,000 bail. He was deemed a flight risk and forced to surrender his passport.
A grand jury indicted Smollett on 16 counts of filing a false police report, as the jury counted each separate part of the story — that two men hit him, that they yelled racial and homophobic slurs, etc. — as a separate count.
Empire cut Smollett from the fifth season’s final two episodes. An episode that aired in March after Smollett’s indictment was the lowest-rated episode in the show’s history.