Jussie Smollett’s Empire family is opening up about the recent developments in his legal situation.
As of Tuesday (March 26), the 36-year-old Empire actor will no longer be facing charges for allegedly filing a false report claiming to be the victim of a hate crime. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office made the announcement.
Since then, stars have publicly come out to support Jussie.
Taraji P. Henson, who plays Jussie’s mom Cookie in the hit series, released a statement to USA Today, declaring her joy at how “the truth has finally been set free.” She said:
“I know him and I know his track record. I’m not going to jump on clickbait just because someone says something derogatory about a person I know and love. I’m not easily swayed like that.
Those little clickbait [reports] weren’t enough to deter me from his immaculate track record. I know the type of activism this young man does in his community, I know that he’s a giver — he’s not an attention-seeker.
When I know someone, there’s nothing you can say to make me flip on them, and that’s what we miss in this world. We need people that stand by us. Whatever happened to that? Why are we so easy to believe strangers over people we know?”
His Empire co-stars AzMarie Livingston and Gabourey Sidibe both took to social media to post an infographic explaining the new legal developments. Gabourey captioned her post with:
“It’s weird that y’all decided that the police were being 100% honest about this case.”
Whoopi Goldberg shared the same infographic.
The official Empire Twitter account posted this quote:
“Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed.”
Empire producer Diane Ademu-John wrote on Twitter:
“You’ve just watched a truly good person get dragged through the gutter. I am so happy he’s been exonerated before any more damage was done, but make no mistake. Damage was done.”
Other celebrities have also taken to social media to celebrate the news –
Ava retweeted a tweet she made in the earlier stages of the case, where she said:
“Despite the inconsistencies, I can’t blindly believe ChicagoPD. The department that covered up shooting Laquan McDonald overe a dozen times? That operated an off-site torture facility? That one? I’ll wait. Whatever the outcome, this won’t stop me from believing others. I can’t.”
She captioned her retweet:
“I’ll just put it right here.”
Questlove reposted the news of Jussie’s charges against him being dropped, with this caption:
Anthony Anderson spoke about Jussie being cleared, telling ET that he hopes Jussie will attend the 50th Annual NAACP Image Awards, which Anthony will be hosting and in which Jussie was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series prior to the scandal breaking. He said:
“In light of the charges being dropped, I think it [would be] a good thing for him, I think it’s a good thing for their show, and why not come be celebrated with his peers and his community?
…I look forward to Jussie being here and celebrating with everyone here and being celebrated himself.
I think he’s been speaking his truth since he started in this business. We’re not even going to talk about what’s happened as of recent, but I believe he’s always spoken his truth and what better place to speak it than in front of friends and family, you know?”
Meanwhile, Jussie’s lawyer is calling out the Chicago Police for creating a “smear campaign” against the actor after CDP officials expressed their dissatisfaction with the developments. In a statement, his lawyer said:
“We are disappointed the local authorities have continued their campaign against Jussie Smollett after the charges against him have been dropped. The facts are clear. The Assistant State’s Attorney appeared in court and dismissed the charges. Mr. Smollett forfeited his bond.
The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights. Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Mr. Smollett is entitled to the same Constitutional protections as any citizen charged by the government with a crime — including the right to speak freely about his innocence, the right to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and the right to hold the State to its burden of proving him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. None of that has occurred in this case.
We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office, state and local law, Supreme Court Rules on Trial Publicity as well as the Rules of Professional Responsibility for lawyers and prosecutors. We will not try this case in a court of public opinion. There is no case to try. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen.”