Prosecutors in Chicago dropped all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett and the actor will have his record wiped clean as part of a deferred prosecution deal, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The surprise move comes just weeks after the Empire actor pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. Smollett was arrested after allegedly orchestrating a hate crime against himself in January, though he has repeatedly denied the claim.
As part of the deal, Smollett will forfeit the $10,000 bond he posted. On Twitter, CBS Chicago reporter Charlie De Mar also noted that a judge granted a motion to seal the case.
In a statement, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said, “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.”
A statement from Smollett’s attorney read, “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.
“Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions. This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result.”
The statement concluded that Smollett was “relieved to have this situation behind him” and was “looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.”