(AllHipHop News) Jussie Smollett has expressed his gratitude to family, friends, and fans for standing by him during his “incredibly difficult” prosecution after having all charges dismissed.
The "Empire" actor faced 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police in Chicago, Illinois about being attacked by racists outside his apartment in January, amid claims suggesting he had staged the ordeal for publicity.
He maintained his innocence and earlier this month, he pleaded not guilty to the disorderly conduct charges, which could have landed him more than three years behind bars and a hefty fine if convicted.
However, in a stunning turn of events, on Tuesday it was announced that all criminal counts against Smollett had been dropped, and his record wiped clean.
After appearing in a Chicago courtroom on Tuesday morning for an emergency hearing regarding the case, the star addressed reporters.
“First of all I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, who have supported me and who have showed me so much love," Jussie Smollett said.
Smollett insisted he had been “truthful and consistent on every level since day one,” and admitted the past few weeks had been extraordinarily tough.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life,” the 36-year-old continued. “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.”
Concluding his message, Smollett explained he was looking forward to resuming his career and putting the criminal case behind him: “Now I’d like nothing more than to get back to work and move on with my life,” he said. “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.”
A representative for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office also issued a statement revealing Smollett had agreed to “forfeit” the 10% of $100,000 bail money to move on ($10,000), branding the outcome “a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case.”